Fighting Fire with Fiber at #MACoCon

While the technology to implement Next Generation 9-1-1 is available now, there are many issues that local governments must work through relating to technology standards, the process of transition, governance, and funding. Attendees to the MACo Winter Conference session “Fighting Fire with Fiber: Connecting to Next Gen 9-1-1” learned about the best practices, challenges, and implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1.

Cecil Emergency Services Director Richard Brooks discusses Next Generation 9-1-1.

Steve Souder, Director of the Department of Public Safety Communications in Fairfax County, VA, started off the panel by giving a general overview of Next Generation 9-1-1. Mr. Souder also discussed issues concerning location accuracy, call re-routing, funding, and interoperability.

Next, Chief Operating Officer at NTT DATA, Inc., Chris Merdon, presented on fiber-optic networks and other equipment necessary for a Next Generation 9-1-1 network. Mr. Merdon also spoke about network security concerns associated with NG911.

Bill Ferretti, Director of the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center in Montgomery County, discussed issues that extend beyond technology, specifically the potential implications for 9-1-1 emergency call center staff.

Finally, Richard Brooks, Director of the Department of Emergency Services in Cecil County, discussed the impact of Next Generation 9-1-1 on local governments. Specifically, Mr. Brooks addressed concerns about the impact of Next Generation 9-1-1 on employee retention and recruitment.

The session was moderated by Senator Cheryl Kagan and held from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm on December 7.

The MACo Winter Conference is being held December  7-9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “An Ounce of Prevention.”