Trending Topics

Wash. state 911 centers form partnership to ensure uninterrupted services

Snohomish County 911 and Valley Com 911 successfully executed a live 911 call re-routing drill on June 5, confirming the vision that has been four years in the making

Screenshot 2024-06-14 165219.png

By Sarah Roebuck

EVERETT, Wash. — Two of Washington State’s largest 911 centers have established an innovative partnership to guarantee the continuity of emergency communications services during disruptions or system outages.

Snohomish County 911 and Valley Com 911’s Regional Resiliency Initiative combines Next Generation 911 (NG911) capabilities with a custom cloud-based CAD solution called CAD-L, according to a press release from Snohomish County 911.

The two centers successfully executed a live 911 call re-routing drill on June 5, confirming the vision that has been four years in the making.

We want to know what tools you’re using each day as you answer calls, how technology aids your operations at major incidents, and what you expect of your public safety communications in the years ahead

Seamless dispatch during outages

Since 2012, NG911 has allowed 911 call re-routing between centers, but effectively dispatching responders in another jurisdiction with different policies and protocols has been a challenge, Snohomish County 911 stated. To address this, Snohomish County 911 developed CAD-L accessibility through a browser, ensuring dispatch capabilities are maintained during planned downtimes.

CAD-L functions independently from the primary CAD system and includes all the essential features needed to initiate and manage emergency responses. It was designed to be user-friendly, allowing partner centers to quickly localize and use it with minimal training.

“Snohomish County residents have faith that 911 will be available whenever needed, without fail. To meet that expectation, we continuously evaluate risks our ECC may encounter, and plan in advance to prepare and maintain services,” said Kurt Mills, executive director of Snohomish County 911.

Ideal partners

Snohomish County 911 and Valley Com 9-1-1 were perfect partners for this initiative, according to the press release. Both are multi-discipline 911 centers of similar size, handling comparable call volumes and staffing levels. Additionally, both centers have dedicated backup facilities, allowing them to quickly relocate operations if necessary.

“We are a large ECC, but not an LA or NYC who have the resources to simultaneously staff and operate two geographically diverse ECCs,” said Andie Burton, Snohomish County 911 director of operations.

Overcoming challenges

Derek Wilson, Snohomish County 911 operations manager, explained that they felt a clear duty to work on ensuring there was a process to continue service in the event of an evacuation, both for answering calls and dispatching responders.

Although NG911 successfully handled call re-routing, developing an effective backup CAD solution proved more challenging, Snohomish County 911 said. When no suitable commercial product could be found, Snohomish County 911 took the initiative to commission a software firm to create CAD-L.

CAD-L offers essential CAD functionalities tailored to each agency’s needs. These features include geo-validating locations, identifying jurisdictions and beats, designating incident types and priorities, assigning and tracking units, and seamlessly integrating with RapidSOS.

Regional Resiliency Initiative Case Study by Sarah on Scribd