9-1-1 Awareness, part four

More on the last series on Enhanced 9-1-1 in the State of New Hampshire.

I mentioned Supplemental ALI being so exclusive, that if you were to Google it, the State’s Department of Safety’s page on this subject is on the first page of results. This special service is stored in a state database and when the number gets triggered into the state’s CTI system, this is how the special needs data appears.

This feature also can be used locally as I stated some states mandate in house Supplemental ALI provided by the customer if they have a MLTS. Be warned, if you make changes, you have to update your database. Cubicle numbers, conference rooms can appear, depending on the setup.

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9-1-1 Awareness, part three

Where I live, I just turned thirty. Most thirty year olds are living in the 617 or 212 or 213 area codes but possibly are carrying cell numbers with 603 numbers. However if they call for an emergency, they would go to the closet PSAP where the tower is. There are people out there who “hate” the state they grew up. They won’t ever be coming back and sadly our PSAP is the most innovative in the country.

And even worse, no vendor doesn’t have the guts to defend our system, only to attack our lack of laws to protect troll attorneys if a 9-1-1 system is not properly configured in a business to sue the crap and put them out of business. I’m too lazy to pull up that Avaya blog post right now…

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9-1-1 Awareness, part two

So for the people never called 9-1-1 before, the procedure is:

  • You go to our single PSAP no matter what number in the 603 area code to ether a Concord or Laconia center. Both locations staffed at the max under 20 even during peak “drive time” hours to about eight total at night. (It was to my own surprise that the max of each call center can max to 22 operators at each location, which totals to 44. This has never happened.) Despite so many people of my generation never returning to the Granite State, there is a growth of population, and given the weekend population throughout the tourist locations, it’s a surprise that a state agency can handle that with so few “telecommunicators” as the state calls it.
  • They ether verify or ask for your location and number. Names aren’t relevant I suppose. The location is to ensure they are going to the right place, and secondly the number is to ensure a call is disconnected that they will ringback. Unlike private sector call centers, the 9-1-1 call is tied to that call taker until s/he drops the call. The way this works, if I am not mistaken you hang up, a few seconds later 9-1-1 will ring back, essentially calling you immediately. Essentially callbacks in emergency services are immediate wheras a customer service/support line may take a few minutes.
  • 9-1-1 calls shouldn’t under most circumstances be overwhelmed where you get a busy signal, but you do go into a queue if there is an overload of calls. Don’t hang up because if you do get next on the queue, they will automatically call you back!
  • They ask for your type of emergency. For the youngins out there; this 3-digit telephone number is for Fire, Medical and Police. If your call is medical, the E911 telecommunicators will go through an Emergency Medical Dispatch procedures. If you remember the days of Rescue 911* with those reenactments, they used to pull a flip chart. It’s now electronic. Despite the fact; there is specific set of questions to ask in the proper order; if the victim is breathing; having a heart attack or gagging on something; even childbirth or something worse. Some have considered this the “interrogation” of a 9-1-1 call.

* As I write this; I still can’t get over the irony that a few years after Rescue, Shatner lost his wife in a drowning situation but the 9-1-1 tapes clearly showed he didn’t do anything he learned on a show he hosted for almost a decade! About a decade ago, a Boston PM drive talk show host would play the tapes for a while for comic relief. C’mon, I had to be sassy at some point in this theme!

  • The local dispatch centers start to get wind of an emergency. It varies town by town, my town has a single dispatch for police and fire, my other town I grew up still has two separate dispatch facilities. There are monitors hardwired via a private Internet link back to the State that shares the same screen the telecommunicator is seeing. It’s at the town’s discretion whether to send help; ring the bells and whistles or just arrive at legal speed limits without bells and whistles.

This is my local dispatch center. This is NOT a PSAP, remember the Department of Safety is the ONLY PSAP in the state. This is a Police Department that also handles Fire and EMS calls.  The middle monitor that on a round turntable is that monitor that is hardwired via a VPN connection to the Department Of Safety’s 911 system. That monitor is identical to the state “telecommunicator”. This is typically used for medical emergencies, and the local dispatchers can triage emergency calls even before taking the call or even put a call out. However each town has their own way of dispatching and sending out calls. This was taken in 2014 at the Merrimack, NH Police Department.

  • The state “bridges” the call between the 9-1-1 and the local dispatch. This means you will hear voices throughout the entire call, and no tones.  In other states you may hear tones or ringing. For a layman end user, that’s not very promising. In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, if you call the statewide PSAP via your cell, they’ll most likely “trunk transfer” your call. What’s that? If you hear ringing, that’s what they are talking about. But will Fletch and the FCC do anything? Of course not! They hate business!
  • Now the emergency response should be responding at someway at this point

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Rants: E911 (again!)

I typically don’t support British talkers on American TV; but John Oliver is apparently good when it comes to technology and the government. Net Neutrality can be debatable; but think E911 is something that can be agreed upon.

Anyways here’s the video and my two cents after:

At 3:45, he quotes the National Emergency Number Association’s “estimated 70 to 80 percent of 9-1-1 calls comes from wireless devices.” I’d think it’s safe to say, that a vast majority of “landlines” are actually from VOIP services that should  be coming from your physical address. Seconds later, he claims that 9-1-1 came from billing addresses. That’s if you don’t have it sent to say a PO Box, and he was half true – because many Centrex lines came from billing addresses not the plant address. But Centrex isn’t his audience.

This is very true. If cloud services and apps exist; then why can’t these apps that can track you become appliances in 9-1-1 PSAPs and plug in via SIP? Believe it or not, this upgrade is basically just a change in the software. The hardware is illrelevent. You could still have digital or analog sets taking calls, it’s on what the computer screen is what counts.

Then there’s the announcements of saying “all operators are busy” this allegedly refers to short staffing; but I’d lay on the side of caution – if there was a spike of emergencies or crises featured in this montage, then I’d side with that over his “understaff” claims.

Those “butt calls” calls placed add also calls placed during performances of “love” is another reason why 9-1-1 fails. It’s too easy to call. Sure if you’re in an emergency in panic, it’s nice to hold 9 or whatever to get 9-1-1; but this is probably how some PSAPs are overloaded. Even in enterprise settings, people like Avaya Blue’s own Mark Fletcher have been in bed with the FCC to force hotels to prevent using a trunk access code to dial out for 9-1-1. Or what he has done at Avaya to force businesses out of their will to have the government tell how private companies should have 9-1-1 programed on phone systems. To me this is beyond inappropriate and is an overreach of government and taking the common sense that is often missing in IT to begin with. By supporting very technical rules that can change at any time and threatening your users of lawsuits if you don’t comply is also sobering. These types of actions are only enabling the faceless careless IT departments to be even more careless and anti users.

I digress.  For enterprises, they have had similar issues like how consumers have cut the cord to wirelines; because VOIP is “mobile” and IP is not location dependent. I can have a data drop be tied to a switch, but the switch doesn’t care that I am on the 4th floor in the 6th office; in legacy PBX systems, it was programmed via the PBX of specific locations that could pass through to the 911 as a “supplemental ANI” service.

Cisco has encouraged adds moves or changes by unplugging the set and place it to a new location to make it easier for non telecom professionals to avoid doing proper changes by remapping a users’ MAC address from one cube to another. MAC remapping is too much labor for the IT department that doesn’t respect telephony. And this actually can cause even more problems for users trying to dial emergency.

I think John Oliver is right, we have taken 911 for granted. Maybe we shouldn’t take it for granted for a change. Maybe people who actually oppose changes forced by the alikes of Mark Fletcher to actually stand by their private branch exchange and stop having the government dictate how private businesses use their private phone system. Maybe “Fletch” could be better off selling snap-in apps to give better location information to these same PSAPs as Oliver has suggested.  If the facts are true that Avaya Red and Blue have 50 percent of the PSAP install base; maybe they should be selling these appliances or applications, and services (i.e. through a cloud) instead.

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Emergency Services – Fire Call Box – Midtown Manhattan, NY

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This is an interesting picture I took while waiting for the bus to come back to take me and my mother home from Manhattan on Saturday the 18th. This is a call box, you lift the respective door, and push the button, you can get help from the FDNY or the NYPD (hopefully in a timely manner.) This an ideal case if you don’t have a cell phone, or you aren’t close to a payphone or you are in great stress and you don’t know what else to do or you could have a case of 9/11 where telecom service goes down for the entire city.

From the best of my knowledge these are hard wired from the boxes and to the dispatch areas in the city, I don’t think these would go to the 9-1-1 call center in the Metrotech area of Brooklyn; but it may. The New York Post reported a few years ago about the vulnerabilities of these call boxes and did an investigation that most of these were not functioning and yet the City paid lots of money to maintain these call boxes.

Some cities like Nashua, NH (less than a couple hundred miles to the north) recently redid their fire call boxes and created a systematic network of like a dozen or so boxes in the city tied through a dedicated fiber optic connection to their dispatch center.

By the way, I did some photo manipulation to make this stand out appear that this box  was all by itself!