There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly modified the mind share around how communication services are delivered to employees that have been forced into a work at home environment. More and more we’ve moved our workforce to a hybrid environment that can provide some significant safety challenges with new legislation that has been recently mandated at the federal level.
Kari’s Law – The most mature as well as the most simplistic of the legislative requirements is typically not a heavy lift for most businesses. It simply requires the direct access to 911 without an access code, some mechanism for on-site notification indicating the event has occurred, and finally a call back to the facility in the event more information is needed. Typically done with programming in the unified communications platform, this is often implemented without a heavy lift, and solves the problem of ACCESS to 911.
RAY BAUM’S Act – With the access problem easily solved, the next issue at hand is reporting location of the emergent event to public safety services. The RAY BAUM’S Act comes in two phases. Phase I (effective January 6, 2021) requires that a dispatchable location be provided contemporaneously with the call to both internal first responders, as well as Public Safety. A dispatchable location is defined as a validated building street address, plus additional information (such as a floor, room number, or other information) allowing the caller to be located in a reasonable amount of time. The requirement extends to all wired telephone devices within the enterprise, regardless of the technology used.
Phase II (effective January 6, 2022) carries the same technology requirements as Phase I, but extends the coverage in scope to cover on premise wireless devices on the network (excludes cellular), as well as devices located off premise but connected to the enterprise communications platform. This will include work at home users on soft clients, as well as those users with physical hard phones connected through VoIP or some other technology.
Past efforts to solve this issue have always been less than exciting, primarily because of the 911 network, and it’s lack of ability to provide anything other than caller ID to Emergency Communications Centers, or ECCs. Built for the analog fixed location endpoint environment, solution applications were appreciably handcuffed with what they could even provide, despite the information they held.
A Paradigm Shift
NENA, the 911 Association and CTIA, the Cellular Telephone Industry Alliance, currently publish statistics that state approximately 240 million 911 calls occur each year, and that 80 to 85% of those calls originate from cellular devices. In a recent interview with Metro Nashville 911 Executive Director Steve Martini, ENP, he told me that in his environment, being a prime tourist destination with a vibrant downtown nightlife, that figure is more in the high 90’s (potentially 97%) of their 911 calls are originating from wireless devices.
Solving the Issue
IT Administrators faced with federal compliance issues, limited budgets for IT, and a changing workforce, need to implement a solution AS WELL AS re-evaluate any current solution in place to ensure technology is current, current issues are being resolved, and efficient processes are in place that provide an acceptable level of compliance, and protection, while preserving scarce budgets.
- Device Existence
- Detect when a device becomes active on a communications platform, ready to provide service.
- Location Discovery
- Identify, to best level possible, the device location, as well as any relevant user information.
- Emergency Calling
- Allow any device to dial any relevant internal or external emergency number.
- Emergency Notification
- Alert Onsite personnel and Public Safety of an event (providing derived location)
- Proper Emergency Call Routing
- Based on the DEVICE location, route the call to the appropriate ECC
- In the event of an unintended disconnection, allow the ECC to call back either the device itself if relevant, or preferably staff that is aware of the emergency and able to assist.
It’s likely that if you’re taking the time to resolve for federal legislative requirements, the goal of any project should be to get the biggest bang for the buck. The Legacy E911 solutions on the market today are stovepipe solutions addressing a single issue, 911 call events. They miss 80 to 90% of the emergency call events that originate from your property. Too often the arrival of emergency services is your initial indication that a problem exists, and valuable lifesaving minutes have been wasted.
This is why we developed the 911inform solution as an emergency event management platform. In addition to solving each of the points above, the platform has the ability to collect a trigger event from any origination source and apply a coordinated workflow to the response. That means in addition to the proper detection, notification, and routing of that event, the enterprise becomes proactively aware.
Fixing the problem – begins with solving the problem, and that’s why at 911inform, we make every second count, when it matters the most. Let us show you how we can help your enterprise not just become compliant but do so with an innovative application of NG911 technology for the Enterprise.