According to police reports, on Monday, May, the Pizza Hut in Avon Park, Florida received an online order from Cheryl Treadway that said in the comments section:
Please help. Get 911 to me 911hostage help!” [sic]
Reportedly, Pizza Hut employees recognized the order as being from a frequent customer, but obviously, the comments included on the order were very much out of the ordinary, and the decision was made to contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office advising them of the odd situation.
Sheriff Deputies responded to the reported address, and were greeted by Treadway who advised them of her hostage situation. Treadway, who had one of her children with her, was immediately escorted to safety.
Deputies then began negotiating with Ethan Nickerson who remained in the home, armed with a knife and the two additional children. After a 20 minute negotiation, deputies were able to convince Nickerson to exit the residence, where he was then taken into custody. Deputies were then able to remove the two remaining children from the home unharmed.
We often talk about new ways of communications that are entering our lives; we often have discussions about how emergency calls can, and will, be placed using these or any modality possible in a time of dire need. With text to 911 being deployed deployed across the US [, the primary message from public safety is, “call if you can, text if you can’t”.
Why? Public safety officials remind us that texting does not currently include location information. If you resort to this motive communications, you must be aware of that, and make an attempt to include that in your initial contact with public safety officials. Audio adds an additional dimension to communications, has the 911 call taker can utilize sounds in the background that can help establish where a person might be, what dangers exist, or other important clues such as the sound of a person choking.
Multimedia to 911 will enable massive amounts of information in situational awareness to flow from the originator to public safety officials, and that doesn’t stop at the call taker. Video could be passed through the proposed FirstNet infrastructure directly to responders in the field where they can assess the situation prior to their arrival, or more importantly, before they take action. This recent video from my colleague Markus Bornheim, Avaya Public Safety Specialist in Frankfurt, Germany demonstrates this functionality that can be deployed TODAY in an Over The Top model:
In addition to additional data coming from personal devices, information from enterprise networks will also feed “The Public Safety Data Beast”, and ultimately allow more intelligent command-and-control decisions to be made on the fly. Call it Big Data, call it IoT (the Internet of Things), or call it IoX (the Internet of Anything and Everything) what we know for certain, is the hyper-connectivity, a concept introduced years ago, is finally here. And this incident with an online Pizza Hut order proves the point that people will communicate any way they can in an emergency. That will include voice, text, Instant Messaging, and yes, even apps.
The way we communicate is a constant evolution. New modalities, new layers of transport; the potential is as endless as our imagination. With this evolution, will come big data, and lots of it. Huge amounts of superfluous information that may be, on it’s own, irrelevant to anything, but when coupled with other data, becomes something that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Where is the future of command and control? Buried in the data, obscured by thousands of other data points, but still there, ready for the picking. So, now that we have the data, we need the apps. We need the logic and algorithms to crunch the data, model the data into historical assumptions, and then convert that data into statistical predictions, much like we have done with weather patterns.
In addition to seasoned meteorologists, the Weather Channel worked on the data, and fine tuned forecasting beyond our wildest dreams. Now that we have access to a bunch of new cool data for public safety, and the mechanisms to keep that data current and relevant, let’s do something.
Mark J. Fletcher, ENP is the Chief Architect for Worldwide Public Safety Solutions at Avaya. As a seasoned professional with nearly 30 years of service, he provides the strategic roadmap and direction of Next Generation Emergency Services in both the Enterprise and Government portfolios at Avaya. In 2014, Fletcher was made a member of the NENA Institute Board in the US, and co-chair of the EENA NG112 Committee in the EU, where he provides insight to State and Federal legislators globally driving forward both innovation and compliance.