Improving 9-1-1 Services

APCO is a recognized and well-respected leader when it comes to legislative and regulatory efforts directed at improving 9-1-1 services.

Governmental Proceedings

April 11, 2022 Comments: Secure Internet Routing (PS 22-90)
December 16, 2021 Comments: Resilient Networks (PS 21-346, 15-80; ET 04-35)
August 30, 2021 Reply Comments: 9-1-1 Outage Notifications (PS 13-75, 15-80, ET 04-35)
July 30, 2021 Comments: 9-1-1 Outage Notifications (NPRM) ((PS 13-75, 15-80, ET 04-35))
April 20, 2021 Ex Parte: 9-1-1 Outage Notifications (Draft NPRM, Simington) (PS 13-75, 15-80, ET 04-35)
April 15, 2021 Ex Parte: 9-1-1 Outage Notifications (Draft NPRM) (PS 13-75, 15-80, ET 04-35)
February 16, 2021 Ex Parte: Meeting with PSHSB on Open Public Safety Proceedings (2021) (ET 04-35, 18-295; GN 17-183; PS 07-114, 11-60, 13-75, 15-80, 15-91, 15-94; WP 07-100)
February 16, 2021 Comments: National 911 Call Center Contact Database (PS 13-75, 11-60)
February 28, 2020 Strengthening Communications Networks to Help Americans in Crisis
July 26, 2019 Ex Parte: Meetings with the FCC on 9-1-1 Location Accuracy, Improving Wireless Network Resiliency and Unlicensed Use of the 6 GHz Band (PS 07-114, 18-261, 17-239, 11-60, ET 18-295, GN 17-183, 11-117)
May 20, 2019 Reply Comments: Improving Resiliency of Wireless Networks (PS 11-60)
April 22, 2019 Ex Parte: Meeting with PSHSB on Open Public Safety Proceedings (PS 07-114, 18-261, 17-239, 15-91, 15-94, 11-60, ET 18-295, GN 17-183)
November 13, 2018 Ex Parte: Part 4 Outage Reporting Requirements (PS 15-80, ET 04-35)
September 7, 2018 Ex Parte: Improving 9-1-1 Reliability (PS 13-75)
July 16, 2018 Comments: Improving 9-1-1 Reliability (PS 13-75)
July 16, 2018 Comments: Improving Resiliency of Wireless Networks (PS 11-60)
January 22, 2018 Comments:Response Efforts Undertaken During the 2017 Hurricane Season (PS 17-344)
April 10, 2017 Ex Parte: Investigation into AT&T Mobility Outages on March 8, and March 11, 2017 (PS 17-68)
September 12, 2016 Reply Comments: Part 4 Outage Reporting Requirements (PS 15-80, ET 04-35, PS 11-82)
May 31, 2016 Comments: Wireless Carriers' Resiliency Proposal (PS 13-239, PS 11-60)
October 9, 2015 Ex Parte: Outage Transparency (PS 13-239, PS 11-60)
July 16, 2015 Comments: Part 4 Outage Reporting Requirements (PS 15-80, ET 04-35)
April 21, 2015 Reply Comments: 911 Governance and Accountability and Improving 911 Reliability (14-93, 13-75)
March 23, 2015 Comments: 911 Governance and Accountability and Improving 911 Reliability (14-193, 13-75)
March 6, 2015 Order Granting an Extension of Time ((PS 15-80 and ET 04-35))
June 5, 2014 Preserving Public Safety and Network Reliability in the IP Transition
January 17, 2014 Comments: Improving Resiliency of Wireless Networks (13-239, 11-60)
September 12, 2012 Resilient Communications: Current Challenges and Future Advancements
August 17, 2012 Comments: 2012 Derecho Storm (11-60)
No Date
Policy Statement and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ((PS 15-80 and ET 04-35))
Reliability and Continuity of Communications Networks, Including Broadband Technologies ((PS 11-60))
Comment and Reply Comment Dates for 911 Governance and Accountability Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ((PS 15-80 and ET 04-35))
Next Generation 9-1-1
Non-Emergency Calls from Non-Service Initialized Phones

9-1-1: Nearing 50 Years of Dependable Emergency Assistance

By Martha Carter, President, APCO International

February 16, 2018 will mark 50 years since the first 9-1-1 call was placed in Haleyville, Alabama.  In the decades since, 9-1-1 has become one of the most well-known brands of all time.  Children are taught at the earliest possible age to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.  And the people who answer these calls embody one of the most special, life-saving professions in the world.  I know this from my own experience working nearly 30 years in 9-1-1.

People call 9-1-1 in their most desperate, dangerous, and scary moments. If you are fortunate, you never need to call.  But if you must, you are connected to a highly-trained, calm voice who provides life-saving instruction, and ensures that first responders arrive as quickly and safely as possible.

In fact, the 9-1-1 system is so second-nature and reliable that it’s easy to underappreciate. The 9-1-1 professionals who answer your calls, dispatch responders, and protect lives and property are not often seen on TV or in the movies.  They undergo extensive training, may work 12-hour shifts, and at any moment’s notice become immersed into an emergency, such as to coach a parent through life-saving infant CPR, or to talk a person through suicidal tendencies.  They also warn approaching responders of any dangers, coordinate incident response, and serve as a lifeline to injured police and firefighters.  They finish one call, often without closure or knowledge of outcomes, and must be ready to answer the next call.  Although it takes a very special kind of person to do this job, they are continuously exposed to a high level of stress that is hard to imagine.

The occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call is a great opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate the amazing work that 9-1-1 professionals from every corner of the U.S. perform every day.  They are true heroes – the first of the first responders – at times the only and best hope to save a life.

The 50th anniversary is an opportune time to confront the fact that 9-1-1 profoundly lags behind in technology.  It may come as a great surprise to many that as dependable and life-saving as the 9-1-1 system is, it is essentially based on the same technology of many decades ago.  The network itself relies upon technology that was long ago abandoned by just about every other commercial and critical infrastructure industry.  Today’s wireless communications options available to the public vastly exceed what’s available at 9-1-1 centers.  This is why, despite public expectations to the contrary, 9-1-1 can still only accept basic voice calls and in some cases, limited texts (always call if you can, text if you can’t).  Sending photos, videos, or other data to 9-1-1 is rarely possible, and we are nowhere close to such a capability in a uniform manner throughout the country.

This means that the 50th anniversary should also be a call to action.  We need to modernize our 9-1-1 systems, and prepare 9-1-1 professionals to meet the challenges of these new technologies.  The gulf between the current status of 9-1-1, and today’s state-of-the art commercially available communications, is so vast that it requires action by Congress to provide the funding needed to close this gap.

APCO has been a leader in seeking to raise awareness of the protective roles 9-1-1 professionals play, and secure federal funding to modernize the 9-1-1 system.

But what it all comes down to is the professional workforce that is there to help every day, every hour, every holiday, and throughout any disaster that may impact them and their families as well. As we celebrate this milestone, let’s be sure to thank those “behind the headsets” for their service.  APCO plans a number of initiatives, so stay tuned for more announcements.

About the TabletopX Blog

A “Tabletop Exercise,” often shortened as “TTX,” is a discussion-based exercise frequently used by emergency planners. Led by a facilitator using a planned scenario, TTX participants describe the actions they would take, and the processes and procedures they would follow. The facilitator notes the players’ contributions and ensures that exercise objectives are met. Following the exercise, the facilitator typically develops an after-action report and conducts a debrief discussion during which players and observers have an opportunity to share their thoughts, observations, and recommendations from the exercise without assigning fault or blame.

Many of the attributes of a TTX are the same we seek to promote in the discussion generated from our blog posts. The goal is to capitalize on the shared experiences and expertise of all the participants to identify best practices, as well as areas for improvement, and thus achieve as successful a response to an emergency as possible.

TabletopX blog posts are written by APCO’s Government Relations team and special guests.