9-1-1, NENA, and Emergency Communications: Thinking About Safety Systems so You Don’t Have to

Frontier Policy Team Representatives from Frontier discuss safety communications with other stakeholders at NENA's annual conference in Nashville

Representatives from Frontier discuss safety communications with other stakeholders at NENA's annual conference in Nashville

In an increasingly connected world, telecom companies have more and more responsibilities when providing their service. An obvious one is delivering reliable connectivity, while others like protecting data and ensuring user privacy have taken on a much greater meaning in the digital era. But perhaps one of the most important is public safety, which is why two weeks ago Frontier was a sponsor and exhibitor for the "9-1-1 Association" National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Annual Conference in Nashville.

9-1-1, NENA, and Emergency Communications: Thinking About Safety Systems so You Don’t Have to

What NENA does is crucial. Through research, training and advocacy, NENA is at the forefront of merging telecom technology with safety. One of NENA's main functions is grading the country's 9-1-1 system, and working with other organizations (like Frontier) to improve it, make it more technologically efficient and ensure public officials and emergency communications experts are on the same page. Having taken part in another annual conference, we're happy to report this year's meeting accomplished those goals.

We covered many issues in Nashville, including Apple's upcoming rollout of iOS 12. The operating system, which will go live later this year, will automatically share its HELO location data with 911 emergency response centers via the RapidSOS NG9-1-1 Clearinghouse. Translated to English, that means Apple will be able to better estimate and share a mobile phone 911 caller's location with first responders. This is no small feat, and its impact will mean faster and more accurate location sharing capability for the 85 million iPhone users in the United States.

Another topic addressed was the "text-to-9-1-1" movement. While some 75% of PSAPs are still unable to process text, that number is improving—and it's vital we make sure it continues to do so. Groups like Mission Critical Partners talked about how we can do that, which complimented other conversations about items ranging from cybersecurity to social media.

Regarding social media, we discussed how various platforms can be a source of emergency information and situational awareness. While public safety has been careful to adopt social media as a situational awareness tool, the community has begun piloting real-time social media monitoring tools to test the integration of this information into the 9-1-1 response process.

The Mobile Public Safety Command Center for the Washington DC Public Safety Answering
The Mobile Public Safety Command Center for the Washington DC Public Safety Answering

All of this may sound dense or technical, but it's Frontier's promise that we're worrying about these things so you don't have to. A lot goes into a good public safety communications system, which is why we're continually doing our part to ensure anyone can get help if they ever need it. NENA conferences are just one way we're doing this, but we also work with public officials and agencies to streamline their safety obligations with our resources and capabilities.

One such example was last week, when Frontier visited the Washington DC Public Safety Answering Center. With the NG9-1-1 Institute and FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly present, we saw up close how the 9-1-1 response center's technology works, and together discussed ways we can be a partner to improve the future of 9-1-1. The details are many, but the bottom line is we're making progress in creating a better and more efficient safety system.

As a telecom company, this is our highest calling, and that's something we will always embrace.

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Frontier Communications Corporation is a leader in providing communications services to urban, suburban, and rural communities in 29 states. Frontier offers a variety of services to residential customers over its fiber-optic and copper networks, including video, high-speed internet, advanced voice, and Frontier Secure® digital protection solutions. Frontier's video offerings include FiOS® TV, FiOS Quantum TV™ and Vantage™ TV by Frontier® with 100 percent HD picture quality, Total Home DVR, instant channel change, enhanced search, Video on Demand, and much more. Frontier Business™ offers communications solutions to small, medium, and enterprise businesses.