Myth 4 – There’s no federally mandated date for Next Generation 9-1-1, so we have plenty of time.
This depends on your definition of “plenty of time.” In remote areas with difficult terrain, Next Generation 9-1-1 may be slower in coming. In more populated areas, however, the clock is ticking. Communities in Iowa and North Carolina have conducted tests of text messaging. AT&T is engaged in a statewide texting trial in Tennessee, which is moving forward with a Next Generation 9-1-1 network, and other states have projects on the table. In fact, in 2011, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) showed Next Generation 9-1-1-related work being done in all but 11 states. Industry experts suggest Next Generation 9-1-1 may be a reality for many within five years. For fire service planning and funding purposes, this is right around the corner.
Given the importance of 9-1-1 to emergency reporting, it is critical that every fire service leader recognize the technical, operational and fiscal impacts of the approaching migration to the Next Generation 9-1-1. Understanding the implications now provides sufficient time to act in order to prevent 9-1-1 itself from becoming an emergency in your community. n