Connecting state and local government leaders
California is combining the data and notification capabilities of Rave Mobile Safety and RapidDeploy, allowing agencies to publish real-time incident data from their computer-aided dispatch systems to responders.
The California emergency response system is getting a makeover to increase data sharing, automate notifications and integrate mapping.
The state is the first to bring together the data and notification capabilities of Rave Mobile Safety and RapidDeploy. Rave announced in February that it would serve as the state’s emergency notification alert and warning system platform, and 437 of California’s 450 public safety answering points (PSAPs) already use RapidDeploy’s cloud-native Radius Mapping system. Now the two can integrate to provide 911 call takers, dispatchers and responders with as many data points as possible.
Rave is rolling out to the PSAPs its Rave Aware solution, a secure cloud-based data aggregation platform that allows agencies to publish real-time incident data from their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems in their preferred format for rules-based processing, notifications and permission-based, cross-agency sharing.
“Think of Rave Aware as that hub in a hub-and-spoke model,” said Todd Miller, senior vice president of strategic programs at Rave. “We’re able to consume all that CAD incident data, normalize it, standardize it – in fact, we’re leveraging the EIDO CAD data exchange standard – and then sharing that information back out,” he said. The data can be shared through RapidDeploy maps or sent directly back into an existing CAD. “All of that is going to be possible in the state of California,” he said.
EIDO stands for Emergency Incident Data Object and is the container for moving data from the PSAP that receives a 911 call through other units that need it, such as first responders.
Here’s how it might look in the case of a school shooting, Miller said: Someone either dials 911 or pushes a panic button at a school and the dispatcher enters a code for the emergency. That triggers a workflow in Rave Aware that automatically notifies the school and its resource officer, plus neighboring jurisdictions with which the affected area has mutual-aid agreements. California PSAPs that use RapidDeploy can see a visualization of the situation on a map, although Rave Aware can integrate with other mapping systems, too, he said.
“People assume that 911 always has your location, but that’s just not the case,” said Steve Raucher, cofounder and CEO of RapidDeploy. “At best, there are several hundred meters of accuracy or yards of accuracy from the traditional [Enhanced 911].”
Because 85% percent of all 911 calls in California come from cellphones rather than landlines that are tied to exact locations, this is a huge problem to solve, he added. RapidDeploy’s maps address it by integrating with Apple and Google to pinpoint handset location. “We get that directly from the servers of those two manufacturers for hyper-accurate locations,” Raucher said. “We overlay things like weather, traffic, CCTV cameras, profile data from Rave and other sources like MedicAlert [and] OnStar.”
In the case of a car crash, for example, that supplies additional details such as how fast the vehicle was traveling and whether airbags deployed, enabling responders to bring equipment best suited to the incident.
Another development in California’s next-generation 911 efforts last month was the certification by the state’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) of the first of three call-handling software packages from Lumen, according to an Aug. 29 blog post. The company provides the Emergency Services IP Network for southern California, but because certifications cover the state, the company “will be able to bring our integration expertise in call-handling software to any PSAPs across the state.”
“NG9-1-1 systems have many components that must be integrated,” the post states. “OES has mandated that the software applications used in PSAPs will be served from the cloud. The rigorous certification process is aimed at making sure the applications work robustly, without impacts from being hosted offsite such as latency.”
Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), which has been working for two decades on standards such as i3 to support NG911, credits the effort in California to strong leadership and funding.
“I think [data aggregation and sharing are] very important as we look at all the data points that can now be utilized in a call, whereas prior to that, it was voice-centric,” Fontes said. “If I am a person dialing 911 from a wireless device, I … want any and all means to help me locate me, whatever my emergency is. I also want to be able to ensure [responders] they have the best technologies to deal with me. That may include location in a Z axis, location in a horizontal plane,” he said. If a resident previously filed a medical report indicating they were hemophiliac or diabetic, that information could also be pushed to the 911 center, he added.
Other states could replicate the work California is doing, all three experts said.
“It’s incredible to see one of the largest states in America with 30 million calls be at the front going, ‘We can do this and we’re going to solve this,’” Raucher said. “That will create a cascading positive effect for the rest of the industry.”
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.