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Together Building the Future of Public Safety Communications



NG911 & FirstNet:


Modernizing Emergency
Response Communication

Next Generation 911 & FirstNet1

Dear Colleagues,
We live in world where nearly 80% of
American adults own smartphones.
Many people use mobile devices to
direct nearly every aspect of their
lives, including making emergency
calls. Today, more than 75% of 911
calls are made with wireless devices.
Yet, our nations public safety
emergency communication system is
struggling to adapt to this new digital world.
Two game-changing public safety systems are currently being
implemented across the United States. Next Generation 911
(NG911) is an internet protocol (IP)-based calling system that
allows for more data-rich communication to 911 and is replacing
PAGE 8 antiquated analog 911 infrastructure. The Nationwide Public
Safety Broadband Network (FirstNet) is a wireless broadband
network dedicated to public safety communications. Broadband
B R I N G I N G is the common element of both networks, and that technology
enables new capabilities that have the potential to dramatically
improve our nations ability to keep our citizens and first
responders safe.
FirstNet is being coordinated at the federal level, but NG911
has been left to local and state governments bodies to tackle.
Although FirstNet and NG911 are being funded and built as
separate projects, they are two inseparable parts of one whole:
our nations public safety communications system. Seamless
interoperability between NG911 and FirstNet is not optional; it
is elemental, foundational, essential to achieving the vision of
both systems. Now is the time to focus our efforts, resources, and
advocacy on how these two systems will work together, i.e., how
INTO THE DIGITAL AGE they will interoperate.
As a community, we need to come together to advocate for
the resources, political support, and policies we need locally
and nationally to create smart, seamless, digitally-adaptive,
responsive public safety communication networks. Those
who are engineering and implementing NG911 and FirstNet
need to work together proactively to ensure that this essential
interoperability actually occurs. Both NG911 and FirstNet
implementation are at a point in the design and implementation
PAG E PAG E P A GE P A GE phase that time still exists to accomplish this. Lets keep the

2 4 6 13 big picture firmly in view and approach the most important

advancements in public safety we have ever seen with care and

Evelyn Bailey, Executive Director

Next Generation 911 & Two Systems: Separate An Improved Resources National Association of State 911 Administrators
FirstNet: An Overview but Complementary Public Safety
The National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA), offers support for
Ecosystem 911 professionals and public policymakers at all levels of government by provid-
ing information and expertise on the complex issues surrounding the evolution of
This publication subscribes to the common use of FirstNet to reference the Nationwide Public
emergency communications.
Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). FirstNet was originally used as an abbreviation for the
First Responder Network Authority, the entity tasked with planning for and implementing the

Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet1

NG911 FirstNet
What is Next Generation 911 (NG911)? What is FirstNet?
NG911 is an internet protocol (IP)- The First Responder Network Authority
based 911 system that will replace the (FirstNet) is an independent authority
existing analog 911 infrastructure. NG911 within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
allows 911 callers, through mobile and The organizations mission is to
digital devices, to communicate with develop, build and operate a nationwide,
911 call centers, also known as Public broadband network for first responders.
Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). This The nationwide public safety broadband
includes the ability to share richer data network (NPSBN), commonly referred
such as videos, images and texts. It also to as FirstNet, is a public/private federal
enhances the ability of 911 call centers to programthat will provide a wireless
better communicate with each other and using todays antiquated systems. In cases communications and digital data. Early broadband network for first responders.
improves 911 system resiliency. of mass casualty incidents or natural work on NG911 was done in concert and
disasters, when the closest PSAP becomes independently at the national level by Who is building the
Who is building NG911 systems? overwhelmed by calls, an IP-based NG911 organizations such as the Association of FirstNet network?
NG911 will be built by states, counties, system will allow for the automated PublicSafety Communications Officials By law, FirstNet is responsible for responder agencies. Through the FirstNet and data sharing between public safety
municipalities and regional authorities. transfer and processing of calls at another (APCO), the National Emergency Number building a nationwide public safety network, emergency dispatchers will be professionals during emergencies, as well
These 911 systems are all funded and available PSAP. Association (NENA), the Department broadband network. That network has able to securely share critical information as the pressing need for a first responder
managed differently. NG911 will be of Transportation (DOT) and others. two elements: core network and radio about the scene of an incident, such wireless network. This coalition lobbied
launched in each state according to its own How did NG911 come about? These organizations provided the initial access network. FirstNet worked with as building layouts, potential injuries, Congress to fund an organization
unique circumstances and governance. Recognizing that the growing use of vision and framework for how to integrate each state to develop state-specific plans. photos, videos and real-time updates, to tackle the challenge of building a
mobile phones would impact emergency wireless and digital communications with States can choose to adopt the state including information sent in via NG911. broadband digital network for emergency
Why is NG911 needed? communications, national 911 associations the 911 infrastructure. plan, in which case FirstNet takes on the responders. In 2012, Congress signed
NG911 is a necessary upgrade of the called for all 911 call centers to begin responsibility for all network elements for How did FirstNet come about? a bill into law that created the FirstNet
911 system to adapt to how people upgrading their systems from analog, that state; or states can opt out and build A coalition of public safety organizations organization and provided initial funding
communicate today - largely through copper-based wire communications to their own radio access network as long and stakeholder groups realized the to build the FirstNet network.
mobile and digital devices. NG911 allows systems that could integrate with mobile as it meets FirstNets specifications for need for enhanced interoperability
for the public and others to send digital interoperability with the network core.
data to 911 call centers, including audio Initial funding to begin development
and video recordings, livestreaming video, BENEFITS RISKS of the FirstNet network was provided BENEFITS RISKS
photos, texts, etc. 911 call centers will through a federal law that created this
also be able to receive data from other Authority. There was a bidding process, ++ Ensures wireless network availability for ++ Not all states and territories
++ Integrates with mobile and digital devices ++ May be launched inconsistently
transmitting devices such as wearable and in 2017,AT&T was selected as the first responder use may opt in to FirstNet network
++ Allows for the sharing of digital data throughout the country
medical devices, car computers, building private contractor to build it. ++ Allows for better communication and ++ If NG911 and FirstNet efforts are
video, text, photos, audiowith 911 call ++ Creates funding challenges for
alarms, etc. NG911 is a critical component collaboration among public safety not coordinated, FirstNet will receive
takers and field responders states and municipalities
of a two-part emergency communications Why is FirstNet needed? agencies limited robust data from the public
++ Offers a more robust system for load ++ Implementation may require changes in
system (NG911 and FirstNet) which will FirstNet offers a digital communication ++ More robust network during emergencies ++ Some first responder agencies could find
sharing during high call volume times governance of 911 call centers at regional
allow for the sharing of more data with tool for first responder teams to ++ Nationwide coordination and support network user fees to be an additional cost
++ Improved responder safety through or state level
911 dispatch centers and in turn with field communicate with one another in the for building the network burden
quicker access to additional information ++ Could create urban vs. rural divide
responders. field, and receive important information ++ Enhances situational awareness in
++ Enables cost savings in network sharing as some areas launch NG911 more
NG911 upgrades enable faster network from 911 call centers. FirstNet aims to emergencies
and other resources, e.g. GIS mapping quickly than others
communication, seamless integration and provide seamless, mobile broadband
++ No federal mandate to drive
call load sharing between 911 call centers, communication among public safety
NG911 upgrades
a function severely limited or non-existent

2Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet3


Communications Mobile broadband National Initial funding Federal requirements for Designed for Single network National standards
among first wireless LTE oversight provided states to participate in national coverage provider organized by
responders technology by Congress the national network FirstNet
and with 911





Rich data from Call center-based, Oversight Most funding No mandate to transition Interconnected networks Variety of network Multiple standards
public to 911 broadband, fiber optic at state and is state and local, to NG911 or connect to designed by local and providers that will development
technology local level with some federal a national network regional authorities need to integrate organizations (SDOs)

NG 1

Compatibility with Sharing of COST




allow for analysis &
system improvements

4Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet5

The two systems complement each other, and when Wireless network sends
information and rich data
coordinated, will greatly improve public safety commu-
from 911 to first responders
nications by providing the seamless exchange of rich BOTH NG911 AND FIRSTNET
data between the public, 911 and first responders. ARE ENVISIONED TO PROVIDE


4 Alerted to emergency
1 ROBBERY! FIRST RESPONDERS with real-time, critical
information and data

Public sends information

and rich data to 911 VIDEO




! 2

Receive and prioritize

information and rich data



WZV-5 17



NG 911 WZV-55
1:35 PM 1:35 PM


N Oak Stre

Oak Street


A woman witnesses With NG911, she provides helpful 911 reviews and 911 sends data in real time Better data from the public and
an abduction. data from the scene to 911. coordinates all through FirstNet to first faster delivery of information
available information. responders in the field. helps public safety.
6Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet7
he future of 911
FEATURE is when your
heart monitor
detects an
arrhythmia and summons

BRINGING paramedics to her house

before she even knows there
is a problem. Its when a car
relies on its computerized
telemetry system to
communicate data about
a car crash after a teenage
driver hits a tree in the
middle of the night. The data
generated by the car crash
suggests a high likelihood of
severe injury, so a helicopter
is automatically dispatched
along with ground-based
INTO THE DIGITAL AGE EMS for faster transport to
the nearest trauma center.
In the future, 911 will
receive photos and videos
directly from a home
security system during
a home invasion and
provide those images to the
smartphone of the police
officer responding to the
EMERGENCY CALL These examples illustrate
the current and future
capabilities of the mobile-
and digital-adapted, internet
protocol (IP)-based 911
system now being built,
called Next Generation 911

8Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet9
Next Generation 911:
Adapting for a Digital World
The NG911 system will allow 911 callers
to share videos, images, and texts
with dispatchers. NG911 will be able
to take in data and notifications from
What you can
digitally connected devices such as car
computers, computerized home alarms,
do to support
building sensors and wearable monitors, the transition
which are all part of the Internet of
Things (IoT). This information will to NG911
be routed through NG911 from callers
to public safety answering points
(PSAPs) and then to first responders ++ Evaluate your system
through FirstNetthe wireless for risk resulting from
broadband network used by public safety access to more real-time information the use of obsolete
responders. for 911 dispatchers, law enforcement, technology.
firefighters and emergency medical
A More Robust System that Offers services. ++ Advocate for NG911-
Better Information for Responders to-FirstNet national
NG911 systems will replace the nations NG911 & Law Enforcement standards to ensure
current 911 infrastructure, which is Real-time data such as livestreaming interoperability.
largely comprised of old, less flexible and video could help many kinds of
soon-to-be-obsolete technology. NG911 emergency responders, including law ++ Assess your progress
offers a more robust, interconnected and enforcement officers. Eddie Reyes, on state or regional
reliable infrastructure, and faster, digital Senior Law Enforcement Project GIS databases -- an
transfer of calls between PSAPs. In cases Manager at The Police Foundation, essential component
of natural disaster, for example, calls can and retired deputy police chief of to NG911 deployment.
easily be transferred from one PSAP to the Alexandria Police Department in
another if a PSAP is physically damaged. Virginia, points out that NG911 could ++ Review the FCCs
The digital system makes it easier to help in a child abduction case, for TFOPA NG911
load-share between PSAPs, which is example. ADAPTING PERCENT OF ADULTS OWNING SMARTPHONES: 20122016
Readiness Scorecard
critical to a 911 systems responsiveness When a child goes missing, a photo PUBLIC SAFETY 100
and Self Assessment
for information on
and the need to coordinate multiple
agencies. Not only does this make the
of that child and the suspected abductor
could be circulated to the computer in
911 system more resilient, it also ensures the squad car or the smartphone of every TO MOBILE routing and other
officer in the area, Reyes says. With important elements of
NG911 and FirstNet in place, there may
75 NG911. See Resources.
Adapting the
be faster apprehension of the suspect.
Reyes suggests NG911 can also
U.S. emergency
911 better protect crime victims. When a communication 50
caller cannot safely talk on the phone, system to be
HELP! I need an ambulance!
for example with a domestic violence responsive to
incident, the victim might be able to text
What do you need help with?
a 911 request instead. In these cases,
smartphones is a 25
text to 911 could help summon law pressing safety issue,
enforcement sooner, while helping to and migration to an
keep the person safe. IP-enabled system
Dropped pin: NG911s capabilities can also enhance 0

legal investigations conducted after a

is essential to meet 2012 2014 2016
crime or an emergency. the publics
Once citizens become aware that expectation SOURCE: PEW RESEARCH CENTER
NG911 allows them to send data, they of public safety
can send photos and videos to law
enforcement that will assist with an
investigation, Reyes says.

10Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet11
Fire Response with NG911
For fire professionals, NG911 will also have wide reaching
applications. In the last century, firefighting has changed
dramatically through a concerted focus on fire prevention
and enforcing more stringent building codes. Now, as National 911 Program
modern building construction moves towards the standard
inclusion of digitally connected alarms, sensors and video
monitors, these networked devices can transmit valuable The Association of Public-Safety Communi-
information to PSAPs collecting information about a cation Officials International (APCO)
scene where evidence of a fire has been detected. These
connected devices can collect information such as real-time
temperature, sprinkler use, blocked exits, carbon monoxide department. These community paramedics are Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
levels or other hazards. This information can then be tasked with navigating patients to urgent care clinics,
transmitted to responders, helping them to make more consultation with primary care providers or medical
informed decisions at the scene. management in the home. FCCs TFOPA Report
Fire protection engineers like Casey Grant, the Jonathan Washko, Assistant Vice President of
Executive Director of the Fire Protection Research Operations at Northwell Health EMS in Syosset,
Foundation, welcomes NG911s data-rich features as key New York, is a big proponent of NG911s potential
informants for the often dangerous job of firefighting. video capabilities, which will allow first responders
FIRSTNET First Responder Network Authority
During an emergency event, seconds matter, Grant to use telehealth applications to connect with 911
says. You have to make correct decisions with the right callers. Community paramedics on Washkos team
amount and quality of data. are currently using high-fidelity video and sound to
In emergency response, the safety of first responders create telemedicine connections in patients homes, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
is paramount. The information supplied through NG911s and transmit real-time vital signs and other health
infrastructure contributes to increased situational data to a physician. Washko, refers to these EMS
awareness. Grant suggests that the data from NG911 is not providers as physician extenders, and points out International Association of
just useful for active incidents. It is also important for pre- that with the help of telemedicine connections, they Chiefs of Police (IACP)
planning and for post-incident investigations. can help navigate patients to the appropriate care,
We can harvest this data and sculpt it into wisdom for which results in better medical outcomes and use of
greater safety on future applications, Grant says. resources. National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO)
We are able to keep these patients in their homes
Medical Emergencies & NG911 when they do not need a hospital visit, he says.
The information available through NG911 will also help Weve had 98% customer satisfaction, and weve National Association of State
drive better patient care in emergencies in a variety of saved $7,900 per patient per visit. EMS Officials (NASEMSO)
circumstances, including car crashes, which are responsible Triaging 911 callers who have non-emergent
for more than 32,000 deaths in United States every year. In medical concerns using telemedicine is just one
newer cars that are equipped with computerized telemetry potential application of NG911 and video. Washko
National Association of State
systems, NG911 will be able to receive notifications and data takes it even further, envisioning a future in which
911 Administrators (NASNA)
from the cars computer, which could include information PSAPs will deploy drones to mass casualty incidents DURING AN EMERGENCY
such as speed at impact, direction of impact, number of or active shooter events and use NG911 to provide
occupants, air bag deployment, etc. Using an algorithm to live video of the incident to the authorities. EVENT, SECONDS MATTER...
analyze this data, researchers have been able to accurately National Congress of State Legislators (NCSL)
predict when an occupant is likely to have severe injuries NG911: A Game Changer
and require specialized equipment to be dispatched to the Although all the uses and applications of NG911
scene and then transported to a trauma center. are not yet known, it is clear that this more National Emergency Number
Internal injuries that a crash victim may suffer are not robust, mobile- and digitally-adapted system will With NG911 in planning Association (NENA)
always visible to the first responders on the scene, says Dr. revolutionize how the public can communicate in stages nationwide, it is up
Paul Stiegler, medical director for OnStar. Injuries might emergencies, by allowing them to share texts, videos, to local and state leaders,
be missed or underestimated. audio recordings, and pictures. Increasingly, NG911 legislators, and community NG911 NOW Coalition
The communication of information between the will also be able interface with the myriad of smart groups to ensure NG911
cars computer system and a PSAP, and then out to first sensors and devices, including wearables, alarms, projects have appropriate
responders is an example of how NG911 can enable faster building sensors, car computers, home monitoring support and resources to The National Sheriffs Association (NSA)
dispatch of more effective resources. systems, etc. In turn, this richer and potentially make these important,
NG911 also has application in other situations: patients real-time information can be shared with first lifesaving technology
who call 911 with non-emergent concerns. Across the responders through the FirstNet network, a critical upgrades to better serve the
Intelligent Transportation Systems
country, many EMS services have launched community improvement which will help them to be better public in emergencies and
Joint Program Office (ITS JPO)
paramedic programs to respond and triage patients who informed and operate more safely. protect first responders.
call 911 but arent in need of transport to an emergency

12Next Generation 911 & FirstNet Next Generation 911 & FirstNet13

NG911 & FirstNet:


Providing Public
Access to a

Public Safety

System t

This publication was provided through a cooperative

effort between the National Association of
State 911 Administrators (NASNA) and