APCO Releases Project 43 Report on Broadband in PSAPs
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 | Comments

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International released the report for Project 43: Broadband Implications for the PSAP during its annual conference in Denver.

The report looks at the impacts that evolving broadband technologies, such as the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1), will have on public-safety answering points (PSAPs). APCO launched the project in April 2016, and 80 public-safety and industry professionals participated in the research.

The research focused on six different areas of the PSAP: operations, governance, cybersecurity, technology, training and workforce. The report analyzes how broadband technology will impact each of these areas and offers recommendations on future steps for each area.

The report also suggests a change in terminologies such as PSAPs (emergency call centers) and dispatchers (public-safety telecommunicators) to better reflect the changing roles of those facilities and individuals in the emergency response process.

During a session at the APCO conference, Jeff Cohen, chief counsel and director of governmental relations for APCO, and Mark Reddish, senior counsel and manager of governmental relations for APCO, overviewed key findings of the report. These findings include:
• Public-safety telecommunicators need appropriate recognition and respect for what they do.
• The public-safety community needs to work from a shared vision of the future of emergency communications.
• PSAPs will take on the role of “nerve centers” of the emergency response. • Interoperability and standards are critical to ensuring efficient and effective emergency response.
• Federal support, such as funding, is needed to modernize.
• PSAPs need some support to address mounting cybersecurity challenges.

APCO has already committed to several next steps in furthering the Project 43 work, Cohen and Reddish said. These commitments include:
• Undertaking an analysis to determine what new or modified standards are needed;
• Reviewing existing training certification programs and exploring the need for updates;
• Creating a task force on public-safety applications;
• Developing an online repository for sharing next-generation best practices;
• Performing an occupational analysis for sharing next-generation best practices;
• Developing and offering a cyber hygiene course for PSAP personnel;
• Reviewing existing best practices and guidance related to geographic information systems (GIS); and
• Advocating for federal funding.

Find the full report here.

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