One of the hottest debates in the public-safety industry has revolved around the issue of FCC location-accuracy requirements for 911 calls made with cell phones that are being used inside a building. Those in the 911 community should consider sharing their views about what these location-accuracy rules should include, because they promise to impact the effectiveness of emergency responses for years to come.
FCC commissioners should approve proposed rules governing location-accuracy rules for 911 calls made from cellular phones used inside a building, as well as initiate a proceeding that would let the agency evaluate tecnoologies proposed in a recent agreement by U.S. nationwide wireless carriers, according to an official with the Find Me 911 coalition.
By George Rice, iCERT.By leveraging readily available technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, carriers can provide public-safety answering points (PSAPs) with better accuracy and dispatchable addresses that can be conveyed quickly to first responders when 911 emergency calls are made, even if the communication is initiated from a wireless device from inside a building.
Public-safety agencies have unique “human asset” management needs, because it encounters scenarios that are much more time-sensitive and life-critical than those in the enterprise sector. For example, knowing where and when a police officer leaves his patrol car and whether he took his assault rifle with him isn’t sufficient. Only by knowing what’s transpiring in real time can backup support be dispatched, even if an officer is prevented from calling in on his voice radio.
With FCC officials indicating that they would establish rules regarding location accuracy for indoor 911 calls from cell phones, the four nationwide wireless carriers announce a voluntary agreement with two key public-safety organizations on the topic, although other first-responder groups expressed objections to the deal.
Joe Marx, AT&T’s federal regulatory assistant vice president, talks about the technical challenges associated with providing location information with wireless indoor calls to 911, the FCC’s regulatory efforts in this area, and potential solutions to the problem, including the use of beacons.
Thermal Imaging Radar CTO Mike Dortch discusses the benefits of thermal cameras and why more organizations–particularly critical-infrastructure entities–are utilizing the technology. Dortch talked to IWCE’s Urgent Communications Associate Editor Jill Nolin at the recent ASIS conference in Atlanta.