Article posted by Christy Quinlan on The Tech Blog on 12/09/09

Today, we had a successful meeting of the State 9-1-1 Advisory Board, including a number of interesting and informative presentations. As a part of the transition associated with the California 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Office becoming part of the OCIO earlier this year, and after meeting with the individual Board members over the last couple of weeks, I made a brief presentation to outline the goals and objectives we want to pursue. By the way, you can find today’s PowerPoint presentations online here:

We are committed to optimizing our working relationship and communications between the program, Board and stakeholders throughout the state. After all, the Office serves all 58 counties, providing oversight of the 9-1-1 network and about 500 police, fire, and paramedic dispatch centers, also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

We are also recommitting ourselves to make Board meetings as meaningful and productive as possible. That includes boosting participation, webcasting all of our meetings and even improving the location and facilities if necessary. Moreover, staff at the OCIO have created a publicly available subscriber list for anyone to sign up to receive agendas and announcements via email. We want to be transparent and informative. (click here to sign up if you haven’t already)

The complete meeting minutes will be posted on our website, but I wanted to mention a couple of action items that came out of today’s meeting. After a terrific presentation by our Geographic Information Officer Michael Byrne, a working group was established to take a closer look at how to better use geographic data in emergency responses. The Board asked some great questions. One of our top priorities here at the OCIO is to share data, at the enterprise level, to improve services. And, to create a common repository where geographic data can be shared throughout the state will save precious taxpayer dollars.

The use of maps is a great example of how we can work together for the ultimate benefit of our customers, the people of California. Especially when neighboring counties cover for each other when calls are rolled over when a PSAP goes offline. Such was the case earlier this week when parts of El Dorado County temporarily lost service because of a somewhat rare snow storm. In fact, we also created a working group to develop criteria for 24/7 notifications of PSAPS that go offline for any reason.

A third working group was created to focus on the implementation of AB 912 (Torres) passed earlier this year which allocates a portion of the 9-1-1 surcharge to recruit and train additional personnel necessary to handle the growing number of calls coming into the system.
Again, under the leadership of recently appointed Public Safety Communications Division Deputy Director Karen Wong, we are committed to improving the 9-1-1 system throughout California to help people when they need it the most, during an emergency.