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911 Connects

Playbook Helps States Interconnect NG911 Networks

Published Oct 2016

A new playbook created by states serves as a helpful outline for 911 leaders wanting to build an ESInet

When a state is an early adopter of Next Generation 911 and looking to interconnect with 911 systems beyond its own border, there isn’t a roadmap guiding each step of the way. A state that decides to undertake the next step in NG911 interconnectivity is forging a new path for others.

As 911 leaders in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota began implementing Next Generation 911 (NG911) in their respective states, they decided to work together to identify and address interconnection issues to enable their NG911 networks to form a seamless system.

As such an effort hadn’t previously been attempted, the four pioneering states thought it may be useful to document the activities that other state leaders might follow to interconnect two or more state NG911 networks. The result is the NG911 Interstate Playbook.

The playbook is an effort to document, in a simple and usable format, the experiences and challenges of the effort. The National 911 Program, which is tasked with serving as a coordinator of information and activities toward NG911, provided a venue for the states to collaborate as they began planning to address the technical, operational, and administrative issues included in connecting state NG911 networks.

By cataloguing the challenges, describing the legal framework, outlining the processes and testing the protocols and outcomes in the Playbook, other states and regions can learn from the experiences of states that have already established interconnected NG911 networks and find a faster way to success.

“In the end, we all need to be interconnected, using the best technology available to us, and learning from each other to provide optimal emergency communications to citizens and first responders,” said Laurie Flaherty, coordinator of the National 911 Program. “The Playbook is a great example of the kind of collaboration and information sharing that the 911 community needs to be successful.”

The ultimate goal of NG911 is to provide an effective interconnected system of systems to process 911 calls. The Playbook describes the method that Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa followed to successfully interconnect their NG911 networks. While other states have and will continue to develop their own methods to implement NG911, the experiences shared by the four states in discussing the issues, identifying the challenges and recommending methods to overcome them will help other states and regions more effectively plan and successfully implement NG911.

The ultimate goal of NG911 is to improve service to the public by achieving efficiencies within the public safety operation. The Playbook is a useful tool that offers a framework for the 911 community to follow as more states and regions begin planning for NG911 implementation. To download a copy, click here