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Emergency Communications Centers

The Changing Role of 911 Call Takers

With our changing times and requirements, many cities and counties throughout the United States are looking at changing the way they respond to the variety of citizen calls. This change in basic premise looks at tailoring the response to the type of service requested or needed.

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Winbourne Consulting Policy and Procedures
Public Safety

Updating Policy and Procedures

It is important that agencies develop a process and schedule for reviewing and updating policies and SOPs. A call taker or dispatcher following an outdated policy can have operational impacts that affect the safety of the first responders and the timely deployment of the first responders. It can also cause issues with the quality of the work products, employee productivity and ISO ratings.

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Winbourne Consulting First Responder
Computer Aided Dispatch

Improved ECC Interoperability with CAD-to-CAD

CAD-to-CAD technology can decrease the time ECC personnel spend looking for mutual aid assistance therefore allowing them to concentrate on the incident for their center. It has also shown to improve first responder response times by an average of 2 to 3 minutes, and we all know the value of a minute in public safety can mean the difference between life and death.

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Winbourne Consulting Criteria-Based Dispatching
Criteria Based Dispatching

A New Trend in Call Taking – Expanding Criteria Based Dispatching

CBD was initially developed for emergency medical based calls and is now being expanded to fire and some police related calls. New technology has allowed agencies to improve response times, but agencies are now implementing CBD in order to allow call takers to get to the root cause even faster.

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Winbourne Consulting Cyber Security
Cyber Security

Cyber Security – An Important Initiative for 2021

Acquire the best firewall Possible. It is generally a best practice to acquire the best firewall possible, use network segmentation and put sensitive information behind additional firewalls; and limit user privileges to only what is needed to accomplish specific job duties.

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Winbourne-Consulting-2021
Covid-19

Reflections On 2020 And Looking Ahead

As always, we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to the public safety community, our clients and business partners; whether they are first responders, government entities, technology and communications agencies, private sector firms, or international organizations.

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Recently, Winbourne Consulting was engaged to help a client address deficiency in its EOP to meet CALEA Standards.
 
Background
For the Public Safety Communications Center, a CALEA® (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) accreditation can be a critical component for an organization that strives to achieve high levels of service and professionalism for its operations.  The accreditation process involves a systematic review and internal assessment of operations and procedures, a process that requires the department to re-apply (and re-assess) every 3 years.
There are 207 standards within 7 sections for the CALEA® Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program. The 7 sections are:
  1. Organization
  2. Direction and Supervision
  3. Human Resources
  4. Recruitment, Selection, and Promotion
  5. Training
  6. Operations
  7. Critical Incidents, Special Operations, and Homeland Security
Of interest to this discussion is the seventh section.  This section includes a requirement to have and maintain an EOP.  The standard does not provide the detailed requirements of the plan, only certain specific requirements that need to be covered to address emergency operations including:
    • 7.1 Emergency Operations
      • 7.1.1 Position for Planning Response to Critical Incidents at Center
      • 7.1.2 Emergency Operations Plan
      • 7.1.3 After Action Report
      • 7.1.4 Operational Readiness
      • 7.1.5 Annual Training
      • 7.1.6 Accessibility of Plans
The CALEA® Standards with respect to the EOP provides the following areas of guidance:
7.1.2 Emergency Operations Plan
The agency has a written EOP for handling critical and unusual incidents. At a minimum, the plan shall address the following:
  • risk and impact assessment on operations;
  • ensuring the safety of all affected personnel;
  • activation of additional communication center personnel;
  • continuity of communication systems;
  • obtaining additional support and/or resources;
  • providing public information and maintaining media relations;
  • resumption of normal operations;
  • recording personnel time and expenses; and
  • documented annual review of the plan.
Commentary
The EOP for a communications agency should address the safety and security of staff, continuity of operations, and all the requirements listed in the standard. Many components of the EOP will utilize the Incident Command System (ICS) establishing standardized management processes, protocols, and procedures. Planning for continuity of operations should occur on multiple levels and should take into consideration the possible loss of communications systems, i.e., telephone, radio, computer aided dispatch. Annual documented review of the plan should include a verification of available resources.
 
Most of the content for the EOP is left to the agency to develop. In doing so, the agency should consider the EOP structure/standards from its jurisdiction having authority that might be pertinent. In absence of this, and/or to provide additional guidance, FEMA has developed a Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101 Version 2.0. Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans. A pdf version can be found at:  https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/CPG_101_V2_30NOV2010_FINAL_508.pdf. This document includes the appropriate coverage and structure of an EOP. It should be noted that some of the requirements in the EOP are addressed in the other subsections within the CALEA® standards, especially in Sections 5, 6 and 7. Additional information on the CALEA® standards for Public Safety Communications Agencies can be found at https://www.calea.org/standards-titles.
 
As with any critical document, it is essential to continually assess the completeness and accuracy of the EOP. CALEA® reinforces this through its requirements for verification, training, testing, and after-action reports as input to the annual review and update of the plan.
 
Winbourne Consulting has been serving the Public Safety and law enforcement community for over 20 years, and our subject matter experts have assisted numerous agencies with developing an Emergency Operations Plan.
 

For additional information, contact Winbourne Consulting at info@w-llc.com.

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