Tragedy Often Prompts E911 Action for Military Bases, Campuses and Workplaces

E911 Watch

Tragedy Often Prompts E911 Action for Military Bases, Campuses and Workplaces

By TMCnet Special Guest
Nick Maier, SVP, RedSky Technologies
  |  March 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

The tragic shooting at Ft. Hood in November 2009 prompted the Department of Defense to take a hard look at its approach to force protection on military bases across the country and around the world.

Secretary Robert Gates has since directed the department to implement a series of recommendations including one calling for the implementation of E911 protection on all DoD installations as soon as possible.

The department determined “military personnel should receive the same emergency response services as their civilian counterparts.” While I applaud the secretary and the DoD for adopting this policy, I can’t help but find it sad that this conclusion wasn’t drawn years ago. Unfortunately, this E911 public safety disparity between where we live and where we learn and work is also prevalent in many workplaces, schools, colleges, hospitals and hotels – anywhere that is served by a multi-line telephone system.

How can our tech-hungry society that can’t wait for the latest smartphone announcement continue to drag its heels when it comes to adopting readily available technology that ensures emergency responders know how to find someone in need during a 911 emergency? Why also does it take tragedies such as a shooting on a military base or a college campus before we take notice and consider what should be a national mandate? While legislation exists in 16 states and counting, the folks in Washington have yet to make E911 the law of the land.

There are many responsible organizations that share the DoD’s new emergency response position and have implemented E911. In the process they also have enjoyed benefits beyond increased safety, including reduced network administrative costs. However, far too many organizations continue to roll the risk dice despite the fact that barriers to implementation are extremely low.

Today, an enterprise can protect its employees, customers and visitors with a variety of on-premises and cloud-based hosted E911 solutions. It’s even possible with hosted E911 to be up and running in as little as a day. A wide range of automated and flexible solutions also is readily available for all the major voice platforms to meet more complex enterprise requirements and to protect an increasingly mobile workforce wherever they may be.

Some things simply don’t make sense.

Nick Maier is senior vice president of RedSky Technologies.

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi