NENA Bulletin on Improving the Effectiveness of Wireless 9-1-1 Call Processing
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Posted by: Chris Nussman
In response to several
recent high profile tragedies involving 9-1-1 calls placed from wireless
devices, the National Emergency Number Association is issuing this bulletin to
all primary and secondary Public Safety Answering Points in the United States.
Our intent is to identify actions which each agency can take in the short term to
improve effectiveness in processing wireless 9-1-1 calls.
As a reminder, existing
NENA guidance on this issue can be located at the NENA website. For further information, please contact
either Roger Hixson, Technical Director, or
Christopher Carver, PSAP Operations
Click here to download a copy of the bulletin. The full text is below.
PSAPs are urged to retrain all personnel regarding the proper procedures for
handling "out-of jurisdiction” 9-1-1 calls, including the location of contact
information for the appropriate PSAP; the identities of nearby jurisdiction and
community names; and use of the NENA
PSAP Registry—a free online resource for the use of PSAPs attempting to
contact other PSAPs due to emergency events. NOTE: Registration is required to
use this service and all PSAPs should ensure they have completed the
are reminded that the nature of wireless calls results in the PSAP service area
often being different for wireless than landline calls. This is due to many factors—from technology,
to policy, to geography. This issue
should be a focus in the training process, both new-hire and ongoing,
particularly when there are frequent issues related to one geographic area or
other recurring challenges related to wireless calls.
should ensure that all personnel are provided regular recurrent training on how
to handle wireless calls, including "re-bid” procedures; confidence and
uncertainty; and the correct process to identify the proper jurisdiction based
on the transmitted ani-ali information and re-bid, as well as enter and obtain
locations using X/Y coordinates. Emphasis should be given to using actual
events in your center for training purposes, as these will highlight issues
that will likely be more relevant to your personnel. All 9-1-1 Personnel should
be aware that wireless location confidence is now set at 90% nationally, a
critical tool when determining caller location, particularly for silent calls
or incidents where the caller is unable to provide their location.
PSAP personnel should be trained on how to locate addresses and locations in
the event that the computer based mapping system is unable to function, or
unable to provide an accurate location.
Techniques may include: using google to determine a business location;
using landmarks and common-places as an initial address; consulting with fellow
dispatchers working in the center to ascertain a location; or a variety of
other traditional methods to obtain the proper location to send
PSAPs designated and capable of receiving wireless 9-1-1 calls should review
and update as necessary the routing maps for cell-phone towers in their region,
ensuring that the routing rules are up-to-date and as accurate as possible,
reflecting development and population trends as well as PSAP consolidations and
service area changes.
PSAPs should work with their dispatch personnel to identify common place name
locations both inside and outside of their service area for which calls are
frequently received and include correct procedures on processing calls for
these locations in their training programs.
PSAPs using "street-centerline” mapping should work with their GIS/Mapping
provider to ensure that their mapping capabilities do not terminate at their
agency border. Calls from nearby, but
outside their jurisdiction, should be able to be "plotted” along with an
indication of the proper agency to notify for emergencies in that respective
PSAPs should ensure they communicate regularly with their GIS provider, whether
that provider is part of the Dispatch Agency or part of a separate entity. In addition, NENA strongly encourages PSAPs
to have their GIS personnel "ride-along” in the Center to witness first-hand
Dispatch Operations and the challenges and opportunities of GIS in 9-1-1.
PSAPs should have regular communication with their CAD vendor to ensure they
are aware of the processes and procedures to update the mapping services
provided by their CAD and to address known issues. All PSAPs should have a formalized process
for Dispatch Personnel to report GIS/Mapping issues and to ensure solutions to
those issues are developed, tested, and implemented in a timely manner.
The National Emergency Number Association and
other organizations and industry associations, along with the FCC and our vendor
partners continue to work towards technology solutions to many of the
challenges faced by the 9-1-1 community.
No matter what these
future solutions may bring, however, it is imperative that anyone be able to
access the 9-1-1 system from any device at any-time anywhere—and that the PSAP
provide the best possible service to the person seeking help.
Fortunately, the women
and men responsible for answering the two-hundred-forty million 9-1-1 calls
made in the US each year do so with consistent professionalism and skill,
helping to save countless lives.
It is our belief that
by taking these immediate steps, PSAPs will help further that success and address
at least some of the inherent challenges of wireless 9-1-1 calls as we work
towards long term permanent solutions.