As cities around the world strive to become safer and more resilient, decision-makers must take steps to assess risks and mitigate their impacts.
There’s no doubt that connecting systems, processes, and people across city services has enormous potential for enhancing situational awareness, building resiliency, connecting citizens, and mitigating hazards. But, realizing this vision isn’t easy, even for public safety agencies who focus on safety every day.
Are there practical steps your agency can take that deliver value now while planning for the future? The short answer is yes. No matter what the obstacle, you can take proactive measures to successfully integrate existing systems, improve operations through data collection, and better plan for the unexpected.
STEP ONE: Update technology
When leaders commit to becoming a safe city, there are many transformative options to consider. One of the most impactful is updating older public safety answering points (PSAPs). Implementing next-generation emergency technologies provides digital communications and the modern contact channels the public expects. These technologies also enable easier and broader integration with IoT, other agencies, and more.
STEP TWO: Use analytics as a tool
Leveraging data and analytics is an essential step in the safe city journey. By having an analytics solution that works with your agency’s CAD and records management systems, the systems can work together to build a unified data warehouse and transform fragmented, obscure database tables into catalogs of information. Other members of your organization can then access that information and, ultimately, become more self-sufficient by running their own reports, analyzing data for trends, and uncovering insights for operational improvements.
STEP THREE: Plan ahead, collaboratively
Another transformative step is working more collaboratively with other agencies on planning, managing, and responding to large-scale events and incidents. The best solution breaks down the challenges of bringing together diverse agencies that have different management structures, terminologies, systems, and processes.
Web-based planning and response solutions give all necessary responders access to a central system while also supporting emergency operation centers, tactical operation centers, and those in the field. To that end, they should also easily integrate with external systems and existing processes, including:
- CAD systems
- Communications systems
- Shift planning
- Geospatial data
- GPS tracking
Strengthening a city’s safety while also improving operations doesn’t have to be a painful process. Through research, planning, and implementing common-sense solutions, a safe city transformation can provide worthwhile benefits for both agencies and citizens for many years to come.