PSAC Profile: National Emergency Number Association (NENA)

April 13, 2017
NENA has worked to keep the crucial link between FirstNet and NG9-1-1.
NENA has worked to keep the crucial link between FirstNet and NG9-1-1.

This is the latest in a series of blogs highlighting FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC).  The PSAC consists of members representing associations and agencies from all disciplines of public safety, as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and provides guidance and recommendations to FirstNet in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. Its input is invaluable to the development of the FirstNet network.

Imagine a single communications network being used to dispatch EMS personnel, a medical helicopter, police officers, and fire personnel simultaneously from different jurisdictions, utilizing voice, video, and data. FirstNet is ready for this to become a reality. The FirstNet network will help vastly improve citizen and first responder safety, and increase the effectiveness of emergency response, through cutting edge broadband communications capabilities. However, the parallel effort of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is necessary in order for all of the relevant emergency response systems to be linked. Together, FirstNet and NG9-1-1 efforts will modernize communications among dispatch centers and first responders, enabling more efficient response to the public and ultimately helping to save more lives and property.

NG9-1-1, an IP-based 9-1-1 system, will update the 9-1-1 infrastructure throughout the country and enable voice and data transmissions to 9-1-1 centers, or Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) has pushed for the development of NG9-1-1 across the 9-1-1 community, and has been involved since the creation of FirstNet.  Both FirstNet and NG9-1-1 will provide mission critical tools for the Nation’s PSAPs.

NENA has long been at the forefront of emergency communications issues and is the only national association focused solely on 9-1-1 issues. One of NENA’s main priorities has been the creation of NG9-1-1, and this effort moved one step closer to becoming a reality this month with recent legislation introduced in Congress. This legislation would make NG9-1-1 a priority.

NENA has more than 11,000 members around the United States and the world. Known as “the Voice of 9-1-1,” NENA is focused on improving 9-1-1 systems while also increasing awareness of issues involving emergency response systems. NENA also conducts trainings, provides certifications, and holds seminars on 9-1-1 issues. NENA recently held their annual 9-1-1 Goes to Washington event, which gives members the opportunity to attend seminars and discuss important 9-1-1 issues with members of Congress, and will s hold its annual conference in June in San Antonio, Texas.  NENA updates its members via their website, Twitter, and Facebook.

The unique thing about the 9-1-1 Industry is our willingness to work together in the best interest of the folks we serve.  The foundation of that service is our Telecommunicators.” - Renee Hardwick, NENA President/Horry County E 9-1-1

NENA has been an important and active participant on FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) since the PSAC’s creation. NENA is represented on the PSAC by Trey Forgety, NENA’s Director of Government Affairs.  NENA has worked to keep the crucial link between FirstNet and NG9-1-1 at the forefront of FirstNet’s planning to ensure that 9-1-1 issues are addressed by the FirstNet network.  NENA has also testified before Congress to advocate for NG9-1-1 as the critical consumer-PSAP link for FirstNet, and to encourage FirstNet to leverage work done in developing NG9-1-1.

NG9-1-1 and the FirstNet network are separate systems that will both improve the sharing of critical information among first responders. The convergence of NG9-1-1 and the FirstNet network should dramatically enhance public safety communications. Collaborating with NENA and other 9-1-1 associations, FirstNet is committed to working with public safety to provide connectivity between communications centers, PSAPs, and first responders, enabling the real time delivery of videos, photos, and other high-speed data.

Check out the FirstNet and Next Generation 911 video:

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