9-1-1 Commission to Finalize Recommendations on Monday
(ANNAPOLIS, MD) Public emergencies are in the news again. In the month since Maryland’s 9-1-1 Commission last met in Annapolis, we’ve seen shootings, fires, and other life-threatening incidents. The response is always handled through 9-1-1. Yet Maryland’s Emergency Centers, which handle over 5 million calls annually, struggle for resources. At the same time, the demands increase, thanks to new technology. Maryland is behind 22 other states in transitioning from technology first envisioned with a rotary dial phone to new, “Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911).”
After hundreds of hours of meetings and conference calls to examine challenges and solutions, the Maryland 9-1-1 Commission will hold its final public meeting of the year in advance of delivering its report to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly on December 1.
Communication with 9-1-1 centers is currently delivered over technology created in 1979. The network will be updated to use current technology’s greatly enhanced capabilities. People in crisis will be able to use voice, text, photos, and videos to communicate with an emergency call-taker. Updated geographic systems will allow 9-1-1 Specialists to locate callers with greater precision, saving First Responders valuable time to find those in need.
Commission Chair Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (District 17 – Gaithersburg and Rockville) said, “9-1-1 call-takers and First Responders already do remarkable work. With updated NextGen911 technology, they can respond even more quickly and accurately in order to save lives.”