The Call - Winter 2013 - (Page 34)

F E AT U R E MEET THE CHALLENGE INCREASE YOUR PROFESSIONALISM WITH AN EMERGENCY NUMBER PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION By John W Geib, ENP, Deputy Director of Public Safety, Emergency Communications Division, Montgomery County Department of Public Safety The sign reads, “Daddy, what’s a ‘walkman’?” I can’t recall the exact circumstances when I passed by this message, but it did cause me to reflect on the progressing culture in which we live. If you spent a few minutes right now, I imagine you could assemble a short list of items that have impacted our culture and day-to-day functions in the past two decades. Can you add advances that were made and are now considered obsolete? The VCR is replaced by On Demand solutions. The floppy disk is replaced by the USB flashdrive. And, yes, the walkman is replaced the MP3 player. After 18 years in the emergency communication field, I am astounded at the operational and technical advances the public safety industry has made. When I began this journey, practically every emergency call was made on a telephone connected by two copper wires to the physical infrastructure of either Telephone Company A or Telephone Company B. Radio equipment was basic, point-to-point analog contact, and CAD systems consisted of flat DOS text commands and computer 34 | THE CALL | WINTER 2013 mainframes the size of a pool table. Procedural flow and governance models were simpler. Enter the “cloud.” Enter Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol. Enter server based CAD, radio and phone systems and virtual environments. The culture of the public safety arena is a constant movement — a consistent progression toward faster, more efficient, more resilient, more redundant, more sophisticated means of getting things done in both the technical and operational realms. It’s an environment of never being satisfied with the status quo and always looking toward future goals and the potential in what lies ahead. That’s what drove officials in Haleyville, AL, to strive toward the first 9-1-1 system and make that first call on February 16, 1968. The history of driving motivation in this industry is deep and rich. If you dread having your comfort zone stretched, you may want to consider another career path. With the only consistency being consistent change, there is great need for a solid foundation of knowledge, clear communication and a unifying mission. The announcement has recently been made — the four largest wireless carriers are committed to a relatively quick implementation timeline for text to 9-1-1 capabilities for their customers. In this nomadic society, where nearly 70 percent of all 9-1-1 calls originate from a wireless device and text messages are measured in the billions on a monthly basis, is our public safety industry ready for what lies ahead? There may be pockets of this country rolling out their own implementation plans, but public perception is typically measured based on the weakest link. This means if I, Joe Citizen of a major metropolis, have text to 9-1-1 capabilities in my home city, I expect that same service on the side of a rural highway. We are a national industry and we are in the business of protecting the lives and property of the public together. We are in this together. Therefore, there needs to be a standard, a base, from where our industry operates. In the past year, the Montgomery County (PA) Department of Public Safety has grown the number of ENPs from

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Call - Winter 2013

President's Message
From the CEO
Government Affairs
Tech Trends
Education & Operational Issues
Creating an Emergency Communications Center
Quality Improvement for Quality Assurance
Hurricane Isaac TX-TERT Deployment
Meet the Challenge
Make an Impact
Index to Advertisers/

The Call - Winter 2013