EMERGENCY RESPONSE SERVICES: Background and Motivation 3

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911 systems have several advantages in reducing response times. First, they save time in the placement of the telephone call, since citizens are unlikely to have memorized the telephone number for the relevant agency. Further, the personnel who receive the first telephone call are trained to handle emergencies, as opposed to standard telephone operators or directory assistance personnel. Even when the appropriate agency is reached, decentralized call centers without 911 tend to assign telephone duties to personnel who also have other responsibilities. Specialization might be important for learning the details of a geographical area as well as for developing the skills required to gather information from emergency callers. However, there is potentially a cost to centralization in the cases where 911 is provided at a central location without Enhanced 911 capabilities, since workers may not be as familiar with addresses and geography when they are responsible for larger areas. More info

As 911 systems have evolved and diffused over the past 30 years, there have been several important advancements in the technology utilized to implement these systems. One main area for advancement has been the development of “Enhanced” 911 systems (E911) which utilize caller identification together with databases of addresses. To implement this “Automatic Location Identification” feature, counties must first develop a system of addressing which provides unique street addresses to every residence (which often do not exist in rural areas) and develop a map of the county with all of these addresses. This system allows с all-takers to pinpoint the location of a caller almost instantaneously (the databases may include very precise information about the location of a telephone in a building or public place, and they can also include special information about individual health issues or disabilities).