Take A Smarter Approach to Dispatch Services

Many cities are adopting new technologies and strategies to make emergency management more efficient

What Happened?
Rather than relying on the traditional 911 emergency services systems, many cities are adopting new technologies and strategies to make emergency management more efficient.

Renville County
Renville County in Minnesota used to leave all 911 phone calls from the local community to one dispatcher. A recent partnership with the County Sherriff’s Office and North Memorial Medical Communication Center has expanded these 911 services to connect callers to valuable information for handling an emergency, KEYC reported.

Now, when a citizen calls 911 they can receive instructions from trained medical emergency dispatchers over the phone. While the medical professionals are discussing the situation with the caller, the single dispatcher is able to more effectively contact first responders and direct them to the scene. The medical emergency dispatchers can provide vital information to callers on a variety of emergencies including:

  • Child birth
  • Burns
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Severe bleeding

By helping the caller handle the situation until an ambulance or other emergency responder arrives, patient outcomes improve and response times are cut dramatically, KEYC reported.

Puget Sound
In several counties throughout Washington, Smart 911 technologies are making it easier for first responders to assess emergencies and provide assistance quickly and efficiently. The Smart 911 solution collects medical information from the caller and shares that data with first responders, while offering the most direct route to the emergency, King 5 reported.

Both Smart 911 operators and first responders have access to life-saving information updated in real-time while the call is being made. The system is able to create a profile for callers based on their phone numbers, which is automatically populated when a call is made. This profile includes key information including:

  • Medical information
  • Family history
  • Family members’ names and numbers
  • Pets
  • Directions to the home

By providing this information while the call is in progress, responders can learn about the case while en route. This leads to faster response times and more accurate assessments of the individual in trouble, King 5 reported.

Safety Apps
Aside from improving dispatch services, there are a growing number of mobile applications that individual residents can leverage to boost community safety and awareness. One such product is a  911 crowdsourcing smartphone app recently launched in Roseville, California. The application allows users to receive real-time emergency alerts of 911 incidents that have been added to the system from other users in the area. Depending on the situation, users can then choose to help or avoid the area all together.

Furthermore, the app allows users to receive alerts if a friend or family member dials 911. All users are able to leverage a map to see what resources are around them during an emergency, as well as upload photos and other incident information that first responders can use to assess the situation.

In addition, there is a personal safety alert system and GPS tracking device that offers users instant access to on-demand security concierge services. The handheld device, when activated, sends out an SOS message with the exact location of the user to a private security professional, who then calls the user to help manage the situation.

Because the device has a GPS tracker, it can be a vital asset for law enforcement professionals searching for a missing person. The device can also be used to send out an emergency message to a pre-selected group of emergency contacts.

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EfficientGov Staff

EfficientGov is an independent information service providing innovative solutions to fiscal and operational challenges facing cities and towns around the world.