A nationally uniform 911 data system can provide 911 and community leaders with essential information to assist with strategic planning, governance decisions and operational improvements at all levels of the nation’s 911 systems. While 911 data is regularly collected, challenges exist in comparing non-standardized data across states.
What does a nationally uniform 911 data system look like? The 911 DataPath Strategic Plan describes the characteristics of an ideal future environment where data can be exchanged on a scheduled, ad hoc or near real-time basis, and has five strategic goals:
1. Data uniformity
2. Automated data-handling
3. Role-based information-sharing
4. Sustainable vital support mechanisms
5. Data-savvy 911 professionals
What's Happening Now
In November 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees the National 911 Program through the Office of Emergency Medical Services, announced a pilot project to create the first 911 data-exchange model at the local, state and regional levels. This next step toward building a national 911 data system will be owner-agnostic and scalable and is designed to enable the routine sharing of 911 data. The creation of actionable knowledge will enhance public safety and ensure better emergency response outcomes.
The first goal—data uniformity—has two components: building a common language by creating a data dictionary and building a data-sharing (or exchange) framework through the use of regional, state and federal data exchanges.
The idea behind the 911 DataPath project is to create a series of repositories that enable public safety agencies, particularly Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs; also known as Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs), to cut across traditional boundaries to derive benefit from large datasets. This goal was completed in fall 2019 and the National 911 Program has now undertaken a pilot project to evaluate the initial data-exchange model with the help of five participating ECCs. An additional seven 911 subject matter experts will contribute to the discussion about data-sharing governance.
This pilot will provide a means of testing the assumptions made in creating the data dictionary and exchange framework. In using and applying big data technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the model will, it’s hoped, identify patterns and trends that translate into actionable insights. With these, a data-exchange model can emerge to inform governance, data-sharing agreements, technical requirements and more—in short, an approach that all ECCs across the U.S. can use.
Specific outcomes that are envisioned include the following:
A highly visible 911 landscape: Providing a nationwide view of operational 911 systems, resources and assets
Better-informed decision-making: Providing easy data discovery and access as well as meaningful visualization and reporting
Multijurisdictional collaboration: Providing seamless interoperability and shared situational awareness
More efficient operations: Providing data uniformity as well as automated collection, use, analysis, and exchange of 911 data
What You Can Do
Review these helpful resources to understand more about the project:
Watch the webinar "911 DataPath: A Strategic Plan for Sharing 911 Data Nationwide" to learn more about the initiative, including how access to timely, automated, reliable data-sharing will help PSAPs/ECCs in their everyday work and the types of data under consideration.
Read an article in IWCE’s Urgent Communications summarizing the process, challenges and big-picture questions the team faced as it developed a vision for nationally uniform 911 data, including the need for a framework for usable data within the 911 community.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the 911 DataPath initiative.