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911 Connects

States Work Together: NG911 Interstate Connectivity Issues

Published Oct 2018

Developed by four states that collaborated to ensure interoperability in an NG911 environment, the Next Generation 911 Interstate Playbook series offers a collection of lessons learned, best practices and useful template samples for PSAPs considering interstate connectivity.

As public safety answering points (PSAPs) continue to make headway in Next Generation 911 implementation, planning for interconnectivity with neighboring states and jurisdictions is increasingly important to achieve the full benefits of an IP-based system.

Beginning in 2016, state 911 administrators in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota connected their 911 systems in a NG environment and shared their lessons learned in the NG911 Interstate Playbook Chapter 1. In the resource is guidance on a number of issues PSAPs must consider when planning for interconnectivity, including creating sample test calls, drafting interstate cooperative agreements and consideration for effective governance and collaboration.

As NG911 implementation is an iterative process, so too are the lessons states learn along the way. This summer, the same group of 911 administrators released Chapter 2 of the NG911 Interstate Playbook. It builds upon the findings shared in the first Chapter, and addresses new topics including:

  • What NG911 is and is not

  • NG911 standards to consult when planning a transition

  • Lessons learned regarding voice and text-to-911 call sharing

  • GIS in the NG911 ecosystem

  • Interim SMS text-to-911 test scenarios

“Each chapter of the NG911 Interstate Playbook addresses different aspects of interstate connectivity and shares new insights as states continue transitioning to NG911 and improving emergency communications,” said Minnesota’s Emergency Communication Networks Director, Dana Wahlberg. “We can learn so much from each other’s experiences, which is why a third chapter may be created to address more topics we have faced along the path of ensuring system interoperability between and amongst our four states.”

Ensuring interconnectivity between different states and jurisdictions across the nation is critical to providing continuity in the emergency communications landscape and will advance the way 911 systems work together to provide quality response services. Both chapters of the NG911 Interstate Playbook are available online.