Data and interoperability are big buzz words in the public safety industry. Can police communicate with local firefighters? Do neighboring jurisdictions use the same procedures for mutual aid scenarios?
Many industry experts are exploring how neighboring stations and different agencies work together. In the past, public safety interoperability focused on how separate organizations communicated with each other.
Now, new definitions define interoperability as “the ability of a system to work with or use the parts or equipment of another system.”
With improvements in technology, public safety interoperability now goes far beyond sharing the same radio frequency. Agencies must consider data-sharing, software compatibility, and other technical requirements in discussions of interoperability.
Various leaders focus on interoperability across different jurisdictions or even countries. However, many public safety leaders fail to recognize a crucial area of interoperability: within their own departments.
Why Public Safety Interoperability Needs to Start at Home
For efficient, organized public safety operations, agencies need to ensure their internal systems can work together.
Internal interoperability leads to better outcomes for everyone involved. For instance, interoperability within your department could affect:
- A dispatch center relaying life-saving information to firefighters in the field
- Commanders maintaining accurate data for increased personnel accountability
- Responders receiving accurate location information to respond quickly
- Overall company cohesion based on shared knowledge and protocols
Public safety agencies often use different companies, software, and systems for specific purposes. A major issue we’ve seen is when their software systems don’t easily integrate.
Information from dispatch doesn’t make it to the first responders at the scene, inspection and pre-plan data won’t transfer to your response software, roster data can’t connect with the HR system for accurate payroll, etc. This sets your agency up for major safety and administrative problems.
Finding Integrated Solutions
Sometimes when we say “public safety interoperability”, people assume we’re discussing radio frequencies. Communication challenges during the September 11th terrorist attacks fueled many current public safety communication standards – including the creation of FirstNet – the first dedicated network for public safety in the United States.
While interoperability is important for communication, that’s not where it stops.
Interoperability in emergency management now goes far beyond using the same terminology or radio frequency.
New standards are being developed by the National Fire Protection Agency regarding the collection and exchange of data.
As agencies use more software to manage incidents and track data, public safety interoperability will be important for every system that collects and stores information.
Secure data sharing should not be holding public safety agencies back. Why is it so difficult to integrate items such as dispatch notes, telemetry data, and other sources of information?
When public safety agencies purchase a new software system, interoperability should be a requirement. As departments compare options, it’s important to consider every aspect of internal interoperability. Will your new public safety technology integrate with your existing systems? How difficult will it be to transfer data from one system to another?
At Adashi, we want to help public safety agencies make this process as simple as possible. Our core Adashi public safety platform is designed to provide a complete, end-to-end solution for managing an incident.
The Adashi Way
Our goal is to give you a seamless public safety solution. From before a call is received until after the incident report has been finished, we aim to help agencies of all types and sizes connect the dots.
While data errors can cost a business big bucks, in public safety, they can cost a life. The Adashi platform helps agencies ensure that their data is accurate across their systems to improve safety and efficiency. For instance, roster data – including role and any qualifications – automatically transfers from Adashi RollCall to our emergency response and incident command products.
This way, the commander knows exactly who has been dispatched to a call. Should a mayday occur, he/she immediately knows who is affected and can communicate instructions to company officers at the scene. Check out the following graphic for a quick look at how the Adashi products help public safety professionals from beginning to end of an emergency.
Adashi RollCall ensures the appropriate number of staff arrive on shift via its complete staff scheduling and overtime management platform.
Adashi FirstResponse MDT navigates crews to the incident with the mission-critical data they need from their RMS and other information sources.
Adashi C&C helps commanders track assets, assign tasks, manage incidents, and log their activities with Adashi’s eICS platform.
Common Operating Picture
Adashi LiveView provides chiefs with a big-picture view of their jurisdiction with real-time incident mapping.
While our internal products provide a one-stop platform for your incident management needs, we also work closely with third-party partners, including dispatch, human resources, payroll, and records management systems.
Our platform is designed to easily import and export data. This ensures our stakeholders have all the information they need for safe response and mitigation of an incident.
It’s important to us that our software connects with other public safety systems to give first responders access to the maximum amount of data and make backend tasks as simple as possible.
Making Public Safety Interoperability a Reality
No matter which communication, data, and software systems your department uses, internal interoperability must be a priority. Public safety leaders should evaluate their existing systems and make sure that they work well together. Internal interoperability should be a consideration for any future systems as well.
Otherwise, integration issues could lead to life-threatening outcomes for public safety personnel.
To learn more about Adashi’s complete public safety solutions, please view the following brochure. To see our products in action, use the following form to request a free web demonstration at any time.
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Sanjay Kalasa is the president of Adashi. He is also a current active volunteer firefighter/EMT at the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department in Maryland.