America?s 9-1-1 community is energized and encouraged by the U.S. House of Representatives? vote this week to create a new $12 billion federal grant program to upgrade America?s 9-1-1 centers to Next Generation 9-1-1.
The grant program was included in H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, a package of federal transportation and infrastructure bills, which was approved by the House on Wednesday. If enacted, the program will help 9-1-1 agencies across the nation accelerate the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1 systems that can better withstand disasters and cyberattacks, push and pull data from smartphones and sensors, and better locate wireless callers.
?Funding NG9-1-1 is one of those special opportunities for both parties to come together, support a top public safety priority, and deliver life-saving benefits to every American,? said Gary Bell, the President of NENA: The 9-1-1 Association. ?We thank House leadership for their dedication to improving 9-1-1, and we are encouraged by the growing bipartisan commitment to NG9-1-1.?
NG9-1-1 will let callers send text messages and transmit photos, videos, and other forms of data to 9-1-1 centers, and allow dispatchers to better coordinate emergency responses. For example, a caller could send streaming video from a highway collision or personal medical data about a pre-existing condition ? vastly improving the emergency response.
Equally important, the handling of 9-1-1 calls will be more efficient and flexible in an NG9-1-1 environment. Overwhelmed 9-1-1 centers will gain the ability to transfer calls and the associated data to other centers during disasters, service outages, or when calls are misrouted ? processes that are difficult and time-consuming in most communities today.
?All Americans deserve high-performing 9-1-1 service, no matter where they live, work, or travel,? said Bell. ?We call on the House and Senate to work together to send a strong NG9-1-1 bill supported by all 9-1-1 stakeholders to the president?s desk as soon as possible.?