Data Gleaned from Next-Gen 911 System Drives Improved Emergency Response

Posted Apr 28, 2016

Emergencies are, by definition, unexpected occurrences — but one Florida county has a new 911 system that aims to remove some of the guesswork by putting data in the hands of decision-makers who can make smarter choices about emergency response.

In Manatee County, Fla., an aging legacy 911 center kicked off conversations about how to improve emergency services, and late last year, officials launched the city's new, more efficient next-generation 911 call center. The upgrades give dispatchers modernized communication tools and will allow for multimedia communications, but perhaps most significant is that officials now have the necessary ammunition to make life-saving decisions: data analytics.

Public Safety Director Bob Smith said that hard data has allowed for more precision in staffing first responders on the streets and on the county’s barrier island, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges.

“We have an ambulance on that island, but we [found that] the call times and call volumes on that island were longer than what we were targeting for our response times. So what we looked at was, ‘What is our busiest call frame and our busiest call volume on the island?’” Smith said. “Because of the data we were able to pull from the system, we actually stood up a new quick-response vehicle for our EMS units.”

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