For a little more than two decades, I have had the wonderful opportunity to seek, listen and learn what challenges and magnitude of weight ultimately falls on the decision makers within the state, county, city government entities that I have served across our nation specific to 911 / Public Safety communications. Those that have chosen this path have embarked on a selfless journey that can be extremely rewarding at times. Yet, along this journey, there are serious and sometimes difficult decisions that must be made.
One fact is clear that every decision that is made within emergency operations can be life impacting and create a ripple effect and that certainly is a “heavy” load to carry. The question is what kind of ripple effect do we want to create? Should this ripple effect be impacted by funding?
I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old and, just like the many daily twists and turns of a toddler’s mood and desires, the transition to NG911 has its share of twists and turns. Just like raising young children, no two days are the exact same, nor should they be. Each day represents a different phase of the Next Generation 911 evolution, and the key is to identify the specific elements that will help in making the transition be healthy and sustainable for future generations. Take funding, for example. Many times funding can be the root to arriving at the final decision –the boundary to what features or functionality may be attainable. Or, ultimately, the lack of funding may impact the ability to implement a healthy and sustainable solution that we need for future generations.
The deeper question really is how do we collectively ensure that this journey to NG911 is one that is healthy and sustainable for future generations and not driven by funding alone?
As I ponder this conundrum, I offer the following points to consider: the journey includes those who have clear understanding of your specific operational needs, awareness of the future planning goals, commitment to flexibility, service, customization, and the willingness to partner throughout the entire journey. With the right supporters and partners, a healthy and sustainable journey to NG911 for future generations will be achieved through the mutual commitment by all parties to overcome obstacles. Challenges such as funding and politics are superseded by the desire to obtain the right solutions and services to help save lives.
Just like raising children has its challenges, the transition to NG911 may be difficult and frustrating at times. It is like the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” this means that it takes an entire community interacting together for the journey to be healthy in order to foster growth in a safe environment. The important thing to remember is you are not alone on this journey. We would like to help you at whichever phase you currently are in the NG911 journey to ensure that it is healthy and sustainable for future generations.