Author: Billy Bob Brown, Jr., Executive Assistant Director for Emergency Communications, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
It is our honor to celebrate Emergency Communications Month and National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW) with you. We thank you for your commitment, service, and sacrifice to public safety. We also would like to share some CISA initiatives that support you and the broader the 911 community.
CISA works collaboratively with public safety stakeholders across all levels of government, associations, private sector, and volunteer organizations to support emergency communications operability, interoperability, and resiliency. Through trusted partners, such as SAFECOM, the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC), and the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center (ECPC), CISA develops stakeholder-driven resources, guidance, and tools to help prepare for Next Generation 911 (NG911) and other emerging technologies. The web page has a wide variety of resources to help your center transition to NG911, including best practices to:
- Protect 911 and NG911 systems from cyberattacks
- Prepare for receiving multimedia, such as photos, videos, and text messages
- Assess NG911 readiness using the NG911 Self-Assessment Tool
- Implement essential Geographic Information System [GIS] components, which are critical for quickly and accurately identifying 911 callers and dispatching emergency response personnel
In addition to the SAFECOM NG911 web page, CISA has other cybersecurity resources specifically developed for public safety and emergency communications stakeholders, such as:
- Public Safety Communications and Cyber and Resiliency Toolkit
- Cyber Resiliency Resources for Public Safety Fact Sheet
- Protecting Your Center from Ransomware Poster
- Cyber Risks to 911: Telephony Denial of Service
These resources direct the 911 community to additional information on common threats to the 911 ecosystems, help public safety agencies prepare for cybersecurity risk assessments, implement cybersecurity incident response plans, and evaluate their current cybersecurity resiliency. 911 center personnel, including telecommunicators, are often the first line of defense against cybersecurity attacks to our Nation’s 911 networks.
911 telecommunicators are dedicated professionals. As emergency communications centers (ECCs)/public safety answering points (PSAPs) continue to transition to NG911, telecommunicator roles across the Nation will evolve to meet the new challenges. Duties, tasks, and job descriptions will shift to align with NG911 policy and procedures. The NG911 Incident-Related Imagery Impacts 101 document supports the “human factor” and provides public safety and emergency communications leadership with considerations to plan for incident-related imagery consumption. Public safety stakeholders can use this document to familiarize themselves with emerging technologies in 911 centers, help establish data management policies, assess training and educational requirements to support staff wellness and develop recruitment and retention policies.
We recognize the work you do to keep other public safety personnel and citizens safe. We are grateful for the 911 community. I want to thank all our partners for your commitment to public safety, national security, and emergency preparedness. CISA stands ready to support the needs of the 911 community and we thank you for your service.