“I’m going to retire before this next gen stuff comes along!”I overheard these words while preparing to present on Next Generation 9-1-1 at a recent public safety conference.
I quickly responded (screeched), “Oh, no, you’re not!”
This was a woman with decades of experience – why would she say this?! After so rudely interjecting myself into her consciousness, I learned that she really was overwhelmed by new technology just like several other veteran 9-1-1 folks who quickly joined our conversation.
Change can be difficult. Our industry has endured one transition after another brought on by new technologies and new regulations. Some of us think we’re getting too old to endure another upgrade.
But we don’t need to be overwhelmed by the technology! Think about the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1 from a historical perspective of the last 40 years.
- When we started the original enhanced 911 deployments, we didn’t know enough to feel overwhelmed! Networks had to be deployed; multiple necessary upgrades followed.
- There were streets to be mapped and addresses established. We needed good location information (ALI). Talk about overwhelming! But we did it!
- We needed to purchase PSAP equipment. New electronic equipment replaced old keysets. I vividly recall how call takers begged to keep the old stuff. No, no! Advancements were in the works and that old stuff was going to the Smithsonian!
Some upgrades to 9-1-1 have been more visible than others. These changes were made with careful planning, coordination and by establishing implementation schedules that were manageable for the PSAPs. Upgrading our legacy 9-1-1 systems will take the same path.
Personally, I’m not about to retire until we move forward with the advanced technology that provides my son, the Paramedic and Firefighter, with vital data that can help him save more lives. And his own!