How First Responders Can Scale Emergency Response with Technology

An estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. every year. This challenges public safety teams to architect, dispatch, and coordinate effective and efficient responses, while also remaining constantly informed amid an influx of calls. During these stressful times, it is imperative that response teams and key decision makers are able to gather information quickly, process the most vital details, and relay that data to first responders in the field — without interruption. Emergency response depends on it.

To streamline response efforts, emergency teams must ask themselves a fundamental question: How do we connect to the right people and right systems in real time to lead a coordinated emergency response?

Advanced Technology to Provide Better Situational Awareness

First responders are also seeking greater visibility into their surroundings. Pre-warning solutions are gaining traction. Telematics, IoT (Internet of Things), and sensory data is captured to help identify emergency situations as they happen and can provide updates during response efforts. When every second counts, processing data at the edge can speed delivery of early warning signs. This helps first responders optimize preparedness and response. In these scenarios, information provided by artificial intelligence and telematics coupled with data from live video feeds, surveillance cameras, and more, can be fed directly to a first responders device and affect situational awareness.

Take the example of a shooting threat. Panasonic Connect partner company OmniResponse provides police officers and first responders instant visibility on a suspect, and gives them means to connect to the right information systems — such as security systems — on site. The platform precisely tracks the location of the threat, information is immediately reported to teams, and alerts are sent to relevant persons within the school or building. Information is made available on Panasonic Connect TOUGHBOOK computers, so all participants on a response team — from on site, to on the road, to central command centers — are aware of the situation at hand.

Ensuring Real-Time Communication with Reliable Connectivity

Emergency situations can take first responders into environments where one or more means of connectivity can be compromised. This can include rural locations with limited accessibility, areas where power or internet may be down, or buildings where networks can cause interference.

First responder solutions must be able to connect in a variety of ways to overcome connectivity challenges. Response teams should look for solutions that leverage various forms of connectivity to ensure reliability in the field. This includes Wi-Fi, satellite, cellular, and even two-way radio transmission. Two-way radio transmission enables coordinated response efforts because it provides connectivity where cellular coverage is poor or nonexistent. OmniResponse, for example, uses two-way radio transmission to provide critical personnel, asset, and building information to response teams in situations where connectivity might be compromised. Reliable connectivity gets the right information into the hands of those that need it most.

Accessibility Simplifies Real-Time Communication

There are many moving parts during an emergency response incident. In the process, law enforcement officers communicate with teams from call centers, public safety command officers, and community leaders. In addition to connected data feeds, individuals and teams also need simplified ways to communicate in real time. Capabilities such as push-to-talk and real-time search for personnel location maximize communication. With these technologies, you eliminate unnecessary complications during communication in the middle of emergency response — and promote effective and accurate information transfer.

The Right Technology Solutions Make the Difference

From a recent survey we conducted at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference, we found out more than 57% of respondents believe that informed decision making and communication are areas where technology will make the greatest impact on the public sector industry in the next five years. Data is everywhere. The conversation now centers around how to access it, make sense of it, and act on it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Providing continuous connectivity and communication while capturing data across county lines, state lines or among multiple agencies paves the way for overall better preparedness, coordination, and better emergency responses. The information can then be used to apply to future response efforts. Start your connected journey today. Learn more about our Panasonic TOUGHBOOK law enforcement solutions.