Celebrating Telecommunicators Series: “Collaboration Across Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (FSLTT) Agencies: How Telecommunicators Benefit”


By: Joshua Black, Federal 911 Working Group Chair, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and John Holloway, Deputy Director of Public Safety Communications, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Department of Defense (DoD)

CISA and the Department of Defense (DoD) are honored to celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and Emergency Communications Month with our FSLTT partners. During NPSTW week, we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of telecommunicators across the Nation.

911 centers are a critical component of the emergency communications ecosystem and provide life-saving emergency services to the public and military personnel. In the United States (U.S.), there are more than 5,400 primary and secondary public safety answering points (PSAPs). The U.S. Department of Interior has 15 reported PSAPs in 32 states. The DoD alone has 220 emergency communications centers (ECCs)/PSAPs that support DoD emergency response efforts in the United States and abroad.). Collaboration across FSLTT agencies is critical to coordinate response efforts and provide greater situational awareness to promote responder safety and protect the citizens of the communities it serves.

CISA and DoD are working hand-in-hand with FSLTT partners to transition 911 systems to Next Generation 911 (NG911) to benefit from new capabilities and infrastructure, creating faster and more resilient communications systems. DISA is leading efforts to modernize public safety communications across DoD. Through the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center (ECPC), CISA, DoD, and other federal partners are helping agencies modernize emergency communications capabilities and transition to NG911.

The ECPC Federal 911 Working Group is focused on addressing new challenges in the implementation of NG911. To help agencies, the ECPC Federal 911 Working Group is developing a series of memorandum of understanding/agreement (MOU/A) resources to help federal agencies establish agreements with SLTT partners to interconnect NG911 systems. The MOU/A resources provide sample language and highlight considerations for establishing agreements, such as defining roles and responsibilities, resources and services, and technical requirements.

When the public calls 911, we must strive for seamless and efficient communication between federal and SLTT public safety and emergency communications agencies. As states and localities across the Nation transition to NG911, it is critical that FSLTT agencies collaborate to ensure operability and interoperability of our Nation’s emergency communication system.

It is an honor to recognize telecommunicators and support them in providing effective communication and coordinated responses. We celebrate the work they do every day and their dedication to public service. CISA and DoD are grateful for telecommunicators and look forward to working with our FSLTT partners to transition to NG911 and strengthen our Nation’s emergency communications ecosystem.

For more information on the ECPC, visit cisa.gov/ecpc or email ecpc@cisa.dhs.gov. For more information on CISA’s 911 initiatives, visit the SAFECOM NG911 web page or email ng911wg@cisa.dhs.gov

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