Is There a Need to Upgrade America’s 911 Emergency Call System?

The Federal Communications Commission estimates that more than 70 percent of 911 calls are made on wireless phones. How Americans are contacting emergency services is fundamentally changing.

A recent Pew study reported that 64 percent of American adults and 85 percent of young adults own a smartphone. Yet, a majority of 911 emergency call systems in use today were designed for landlines. As Americans become more dependent on mobile devices for communication,is there a need to upgrade the country’s emergency call system?

Recently, this topic was discussed at length on NPR’s syndicated radio program The Diane Rehm Show. One of Rehm’s guests was Steve Sounder, director, Department of 9-1-1 in Fairfax County, Virginia. A long-time Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure customer, the Fairfax County Virginia Department of Public Safety Communication uses our industry-leading computer-aided dispatch (I/CAD) system, mobile, and reporting solution to serve 1.3 million residents in the state’s largest county. The department plans to deploy Next Gen phone and CAD in 2016.

Listen to Sounder’s – and the other panelist’s – perspective on Next Gen 911 and the need to upgrade 911 emergency call systems across the U.S.

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