CISA at 2019 APCO: Day 4

Author: Ken Bradley, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Office of External Affairs

Association for Public-Safety Officials (APCO) Conference

APCO 2019, APCO International’s Annual Conference and Expo, is the premier event for public safety communications officials, from frontline telecommunicators to communications center managers to public safety communications equipment and services vendors.  Over 5,000 attendees represent a wide range of organizations, including emergency communications centers, law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical services, and government agencies, along with service providers and commercial vendors. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is participating in its last session, The National 9-1-1 Data System: Aggregating Uniform Datasets for Optimal 9-1-1 Systems.

The National 9-1-1 Data System: Aggregating Uniform Datasets for Optimal 9-1-1 Systems

This session was hosted by Laurie Flaherty, Coordinator of the National 911 Program, which was established in 2004 to act as convener of the 911 community, to collect and create resources, and to administer its grant program to administrate 911.  The panel covered the challenges in comparing 911 data at the state and sub-state levels.  The panel provided an overview of the National 911 Program’s 911 Data and Information Sharing Strategic Plan that was recently released, which enhances use of 911 data, supports actionable improvements, and is driven by the 911 community.  The Strategic Plan is intended to provide a framework for standardizing 911 data and use.  The panel discussed how stakeholders can use the Strategic Plan as a model for collecting 911 data to inform decision-making, which would help:

  • Administrators improve planning
  • Public safety agencies gain situational awareness
  • Federal agencies make better programmatic support decisions
  • States allocate funds more accurately to match needs
  • Local agencies define and identify infrastructure improvements
  • Originating service provides have quicker access to more data
  • 911 system, equipment and network providers better anticipate 911 community’s needs
  • 911 authorities support overall service management
  • 911 organizations better support memberships through education.

Jerry Jaskulski, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) addressed, what does “911 Data System” mean?  He stated, “it does not mean: a singular proprietary product.  It does mean: any combination of products, tools, resources, capabilities, which may include: databases, standards, scripts, algorithms, and standard operating procedures.” 

The Strategic Plan has 5 strategic goals and objectives:

  1. Data Uniformity
  2. Automated Data Handling
  3. Role-Based Information Sharing
  4. Sustainable Vital Support Mechanisms
  5. Data-Savvy 911 Professionals

Goal 1 Data Uniformity, essential elements of information that are standardized and supportive of interoperability and overall quality assurance of 911 service delivery.  Identify and define essential elements of information, create 911 elements dictionary and data model, and categorize data by source, collector and user.

Goal 2 Automated Data Handling, collection, use, quality assurance, and security of data and information across disparate 911 systems.  Reduce data and information solos, establish recommended approaches for using data, ensure adoption of best and common practices.

Goal 3 Role-Based Information Sharing, the right data to the right people at the right time, facilitating evidence-based decisions while protecting privacy.  Create and define common roles and responsibilities, support promotion of best practices, and permit on-demand data sharing.

Goal 4 Sustainable Vital Support Mechanisms, governance frameworks, funding sources, and a network of 911 community partners able to maintain a 911 data and information sharing environment for all tiers of governing bodies.  Develop a user-focused governance, advisory framework and model legislation language, identify funding needs, models and sources, and measure impacts of data sharing.

Goal 5 Data-Savvy 911 Professionals, 911 professional with the skills to apply user-centric approaches to using 911 data.  Identify roll-based skillsets and qualifications, develop staff training for skillset development, and define how data skills impact 911 service funding and models.

The panel engaged attendees and asked for feedback on the Strategic Plan by conducting a question and answer session with the panelists.  Laurie asked attendees to subscribe to News for updates, spread the word to the 911 community, and contact the National 911 Program on  Following the panel, Jerry met with attendees and shared handouts on the CISA SAFECOM/National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators NG911 working group and collecting contact information to support CISAs 911 lanes of business. 

Today’s panel marked an end to our participation in APCO 2019.  For CISA’s full schedule of events at APCO 2019 or to read other session summaries, please visit the SAFECOM Blog.

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