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How Better 911 Call Data Can Improve Emergency Outcomes

It’s virtually impossible to overstate how precious time can be in an emergency situation, especially the time between when an emergency is called in and when public safety workers arrive. Be it a fire, a search and rescue mission or a hunt for a fugitive, every second is precious.

But time isn’t the only thing that can change the outcome of an emergency. Data is important, too. Every public safety worker needs as much information as a 911 dispatcher can give them about an emergency situation.

That data can be culled  from many different sources by PSAP workers. There’s geographic information systems, wireless communications, global positioning systems, and a full range of public safety software solutions, among others. These can be used in many ways.

Here are just a few of the ways that better call data can improve the outcome of any emergency.

Reducing the potential for emergency vehicle crashes

According to a 2015 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, there were an average of 4,500 ambulance crashes per year across the United States.

Many of them were due to traffic congestion, an unavoidable part of driving on city roads or highways. However, for public safety workers and the PSAP personnel supporting them, this problem doesn’t have to be unavoidable. A dispatcher can guide an ambulance driver through or around areas of heavy traffic if they have accurate traffic data compiled through GPS.

The best thing for any emergency victim is if the people dispatched to help them get there quickly and safely. Knowing the best, safest route to an emergency is one big way to make sure both of those things happen.

Better response time

A couple of years ago in Jersey City, NJ, a concentrated effort was made to bring better data analytics to the city’s emergency dispatch call centers.

After doing so, the average emergency response time in the city dropped from almost nine minutes to under six. Imagine how many lives that might have saved? A similar experiment was done shortly afterwards in San Francisco with similar results.

It’s a common-sense equation: The more data a PSAP can analyze and disseminate to emergency service providers, the more quickly and efficiently they can do their jobs, and thus lives are saved.

Cost reduction

Yes, there might be […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 18th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

So You Want to Be an Emergency Dispatcher/telecommunicator or Telecommunicator

Every important job has standards, and that’s certainly true of the positions of emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator and emergency telecommunicator. It’s a critical occupation in which an employee has to work quickly and efficiently with decisive action, because lives are quite literally on the line.

In short, it’s not a job for everyone. But when a public safety organization needs a new emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator/telecommunicator, what do they look for? What are some of the key factors they take into account before hiring?

One good way to find out is simply to look at the employment ads for dispatcher/telecommunicators. In a brief job description, you can generally figure out what it takes to do this job right. Here are some tips from real-life emergency-dispatcher/telecommunicator-wanted ads.

The basic skills

In virtually all cases, an emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator will need a high school diploma or GED. They will need to be proficient in Windows-based computer systems and have effective written and verbal communication skills.

They must be able to use maps and other geographical reference materials to make sure the police or EMS services are getting where they need to go.

The appropriate responses

There are certain situations where an emergency telecommunicator doesn’t just answer urgent calls; they answer non-emergency and administrative calls, as well. In situations like this, a good telecommunicator will know how to respond to each call based on its importance.

Prioritizing calls is a vital skill for someone in this field, and it has to be a skill that one can learn quickly. The training will be provided, obviously, but instinct and common sense play their roles, as well.

Coordination

A good emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator will become skilled in working with other agencies, citizens or businesses to gather the important information needed or to give the necessary instructions. Teamwork in emergency situations is a must for any dispatcher/telecommunicator.

Training and certification

The diploma or GED you’re required to have is just the beginning of the process. In an emergency dispatcher/telecommunicator position there will be constant training and further education that are required to stay up to date on all the new protocols and technologies that come along. Media and call recorders, Next Generation 911, FirstNet – these are all important public safety technologies that emergency dispatcher/telecommunicators have to be knowledgeable about and comfortable with.

Given the rate at which technology can […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 12th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How Technology is Helping Keep Public Safety Workers and Citizens Safe

Risk is part of the job for many, if not all, public safety workers – but unnecessary risk should never be. Keeping those workers safe in the event of a natural disaster so that they can then keep the public safe is crucial, and agencies should seek the best possible ways to do so. Luckily, we live in an era when technology can be a big help to all those in the public safety field.

There are new programs, services and apps being developed every day to help in the cause of public safety, and the innovations seem to be endless. Here are just a few of the ways that new technology can keep you, and the public, safe during a natural disaster, mass casualty event, or other major catastrophe.

The KOVA Emergency Alert Notification System (KEANS)

KEANS can communicate with multiple agencies in multiple locations, as well as business partners and public address systems like loudspeakers and bullhorns all at the same time. This can save time, resources and lives.

In the KEANS system, dedicated circuits, fixed endpoints, and even public address systems are constantly monitored. The easy-to-read dashboard displays all available endpoints with green indicators, which allows operators to see the condition of the fixed components and know that the system is operating properly.

The Facebook “I’m Safe” app

This app is automatically activated if a large amount of people in an affected area post about a natural disaster or other event. Once the feature is activated, it prompts the user to go to a Safety Check area that will let friends and loved ones know that you’re safe.

Even better, you have the option with the app to invite other friends to join, helping people stay connected should a natural disaster occur.

American Red Cross mobile apps

The Red Cross offers a comprehensive collection of apps that can be invaluable during a natural disaster, including first aid instructions (for humans and pets), an emergency app that allows you to monitor 35 different Severe Weather Alert systems, and individual apps that track hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake and wildfire watches and warnings.

The Natural Disaster Monitor for Android

This app, available from the Google Play store, monitors the latest natural disasters, including volcanoes, earthquakes, cyclones, floods and tsunamis and displays them as color coded icons […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 4th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

6 Ways to Help New Contact Center Employees Succeed

Contact center work can be rewarding because it’s such a great test of quick-thinking, multi-tasking and customer service. Finding an employee who excels at all of those things can be challenging, however, and contact center work can often be the first job of a young person who’s just entered the workforce.

So the challenge is to create a training program that helps these new workers learn the ins and outs of contact center work without becoming overwhelmed or discouraged during the training process.

Here are some tips for creating a training program that will both prepare and encourage your new employees to excel at your contact center.

Introductions Are Key

It might seem obvious, but often, with such a large amount of information, policies and procedures to get through in training, the act of simply introducing the existing team to your new employees can get lost by the wayside.

The more familiar a new employee is with your contact center team, the more comfortable he or she will be communicating with them.

And it’s also helpful to establish a more family-like atmosphere, which can make a new employee feel a lot less unsure or out of place at their new job.

Keeping To The Schedule

We’re not necessarily talking about a training schedule in this case. We’re talking about teaching your new employees that following a schedule once they’re working in the contact center is vital.

Part of what a high-functioning center does is handle calls quickly and efficiently. Customer service is important, but so is getting the right amount of calls taken care of.

Often, the technical aspects of a contact center job, along with the customer service requirements, take precedence, but leaving out the part of the job that concerns keeping to a tight schedule could add more pressure to an employee’s average day later on.

Bringing In The Best Performers

Every contact center has employees that perform above and beyond their job requirements, and they can serve as the best possible example for new employees.

Bringing in those high-level performers will not only give your new hires a chance to learn what these employees do to stay ahead of the curve, but it can also give them a chance to ask questions in a less time-sensitive environment.

Wouldn’t you prefer having an employee ask about how to […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

May 3rd, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

7 Invaluable Tips for Tech Support Contact Centers

Technical support is possibly one of the most difficult areas a contact center agent can work in. As part of an off-site company, it can be challenging to get the information you need from your callers – much more  so than as part of an on-site service that can simply take a look at the device and diagnose the problem in person.

So what is it that makes a good tech support contact center worker? What advice or strategies can an agent use to make sure they’re doing their job to the best of their ability? Here are a few tips.

Be an excellent listener

We’ll start with the most obvious one. The best way to help a caller with any problem, particularly a complex one, is by listening to them describe their issue carefully. Keep your ears open for minor details that could lead to a solution, and ask as many relevant questions as you need to – without annoying your customer, that is.

Quite simply, the more information you can glean from the caller, the better equipped you’ll be to resolve their problem on the first call.

Manage your time well

Contact center agents work on a tight schedule, and they’re often required to manage that schedule on their own. It’s up to the agent to be efficient and concise while still providing excellent customer service.

Remember, time is valuable to both you and your caller.

Use your discretion when it comes to technological details

This might not be an area that you think about too much when it comes to being a tech support contact agent, but it’s important to remember that the technology you’re working with belongs to a company that’s selling it.

There are bound to be some trade secrets involved in whatever tech you’re providing support for, so you shouldn’t give more details than necessary, either to the caller or to friends and family in your off-time.

Stay flexible

Remember, you’re going to be experiencing all sorts of situations and issues that you’re not expecting; that’s part of the job when you’re providing technical support. An effective agent learns to expect the unexpected and deal with unpredictability.

When dealing with callers, it’s simply impossible to anticipate all the potential problems they might have, so be ready to change course and adjust your […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 27th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

8 Ways Mobile Command Units are Used by Public Safety Agencies

You’ve probably seen the scene before in movies: There’s a tense hostage situation or a bank robbery gone wrong, and the police cars and SWAT teams start rolling up. And somewhere nearby, there’s a large van or truck that looks similar to the ones that UPS and FedEx drive around, but more fortified.

Inside this truck are the people making the calls, making the decisions and making the plans. These vehicles are called mobile command centers, and they’re hugely important pieces of technology for police, firefighters and other public safety workers.

Inside these mobile command centers, you’ll find all kinds of tech, public safety software, communications gear, and other vital tools that public safety workers need to do their jobs.

Here are a few of the possible uses of mobile command centers (or MCCs) in the field.

Crime labs

Believe it or not, police don’t always have to transport evidence back to some distant crime lab to get the results they need. Many MCCs are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment to test all sorts of potential evidence from a crime scene.

Public safety workers can get the results they need on the spot to help them do their jobs more quickly.

Bomb units

Nothing is more important in a bomb-threat situation than the ability to respond quickly, and that’s what an MCC provides. Whether it’s fast, clear communication, high-quality video cameras, or even a remotely-operated bomb-defusing robot, an MCC can be loaded with all of the necessary equipment that a bomb squad might need to keep the public as safe as possible.

Large event security

In a case where a city or community is hosting a multi-day festival or event, public safety workers often bring in more than one MCC to serve not just as mobile headquarters for those on duty, but to provide wireless surveillance of a wide area filled with hundreds of thousands of people.

Long-term surveillance

MCCs are perfect for spending days, weeks, or even months on surveillance. Whether it’s an area with a high crime rate or keeping watch on one specific structure, MCCs can be equipped to run like a full-scale police station on wheels, and they can do so indefinitely.

Search and rescue

One of the most important uses of an MCC can be in the search process for someone who’s missing or is being […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 26th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

KOVA to Attend the Harris International Users Conference

Without a doubt, the Harris Corporation is one of the standard-bearers in the field of wireless communication. Their collection of tactical radios, electronic systems, night vision equipment and antennas is about as must-have for members of the public safety community as you can get, up to and including the Federal government.

That’s why their International Users Conference, which will take place at the Hilton Palacio Del Rio hotel in San Antonio, TX from April 23rd-27th,  is about as close to a must-attend event as you can get. Here are some of the highlights of the conference schedule, which is jam-packed with training sessions and vendor exhibits.

Sunday, April 23rd: Training Session 1

The first of many wide-ranging training sessions, this first gathering will focus on maintenance procedures for the popular XG series of portable radios.

In addition to a basic rundown of the XG family of products, there will be tutorials on replacing parts, maintaining the XG software, the best testing scenarios for the radios, a detailed lesson in assembling and dis-assembling an XG, and conversations about how the radios work in the field, delivered by experienced users.

By the time this session is over, you should know all there is to know about these durable, state-of-the-art public safety tools.

Monday, April 24th: Training Session 2 and Exhibit Hall

This training session will help those attending understand the configuration and operation of an Inter RF Sub-System Interface (ISSI). Topics for this course will include configuring the Unified Administration System (UAS) for foreign and local ISSI gateways, creating ISSI Regions, establishing System Assigned ID ranges for foreign user and groups, determining talk groups and shared users available to foreign systems and creating foreign user permission templates.

Monday will also feature the first collection of exhibitors, displaying public-safety and surveillance solutions from all over the country.

Tuesday, April 25th

The third day of the conference focuses more on speaking engagements than training, and will feature several important presentations.

8 a.m.:

An overview of the Harris Corporation and the conference will be offered by Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development Communication Lori Thompson and Public Safety and Professional Communications President Nino DiCosmo.

There will also be symposiums by Dr. Dennis Martinez, the Chief Technology Officer at Harris, Michelle Johnson, the LTE Center Of Excellence Director, members of the San Antonio Sheriff’s […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 20th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

Campus Safety: The New Jersey College and University Public Safety Association Conference

Maintaining and enforcing public safety are not static professions. They are constantly evolving, with new standards and requirements popping up all the time. It’s KOVA’s job to stay on top of those changes, and that’s why we’re going to be participating in this year’s New Jersey College and University Public Safety Association Conference.

The conference, which will take place from April 19th-21st at the Resorts Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, will include vendors with the latest public safety technology, lectures and advisory sessions by some of the top experts and officials in the field, and multiple networking opportunities for all attendees.

Here’s a more specific, though by no means complete, breakdown of what the NJ-CUPSA will offer at this year’s convention.

Keynote speaker

On the first evening of the conference, Dr. Chris Rodriguez, from the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, will speak. Rodriguez served in the CIA for more than a decade before accepting the Homeland Security position, rising to the position of Senior Analyst in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

In addition, Rodriguez has travelled the world and served in both Iran and Iraq.

There are few people in the country more qualified to speak on the issue of public safety than Dr. Rodriguez.

Campus trends and threat assessment

Critical Infrastructure Coordinator Audrey Miller and Intelligence Analyst Paige Schilling will lead this seminar on the second day of the conference.

Unfortunately, more and more threats to public safety seem to be happening on college campuses these days, and that means that those tasked with keeping students safe must be as informed as possible on different methods, tactics and strategies.

The more a public safety worker knows about the possible threats that are on our country’s college campuses, the more likely they’ll be able to work effectively if the worst happens.

Active shooter and campus issues

FBI Special Agent Bruce Kamerman will be on hand immediately after the Threat Assessment seminar to discuss what happens when the worst does occur.

Active shooting situations on college campuses are among the most terrifying situations that can happen, and as sad as it might be to say, they are becoming increasingly common.

With the help of special agent Kamerman, public safety workers can learn about how to react in those crucial first moments after an active shooter is detected on campus.

Vendor reception […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 18th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

More Best Practices for Contact Center Training

In an age of increasingly technology-fueled contact centers, automated systems can often handle minor issues with customers. This is no doubt a good thing, both for the client and the contact center. But it also means that the larger, more complex problems are still going to need to be addressed by your staff.

This gives them a higher level of responsibility than ever, and it also means that your process of training has to be better, more effective and more thorough than ever. But with so many training procedures and theories out there, what are the best ways to create a knowledgeable, effective staff?

Here are some best practices when it comes to training your contact center employees.

Empowering Your Employees

If you make sure your employees feel like they have a stake in your contact center’s success, they’re more likely to go the extra mile to make sure that’s the case.

An employee that feels valued within the center and that has the power to make certain decisions is much more likely to solve a customer issue within a single call, and they’ll be a better representative of whatever brand your center is handling.

Varied Procedures

Who says that training procedures can’t be frequently examined, evaluated and changed, just like you might do in an employee evaluation? This helps to ensure a higher level of engagement from the employee, whether it’s a new hire or a longtime employee who’s training on new procedures.

Mix up simulations, videos, written training and actual calls to make sure that your employees have as many different situations under their belt as possible. The more prepared they are, the more likely they can handle a customer’s problem in one call.

Why Wait?

And speaking of the training period, why not have your employees handle some calls (under the proper supervision, of course)? It may sound a little intimidating for them and like a bit of a risk for you, but with a fully trained supervisor on hand, the trainee can defer to them if need be, and there’s no better way to train than by having hands-on experience.

Keep The Process Continuous

Training doesn’t end when an employee begins handling calls on his or her own. It’s a constant process of learning, and one of the best ways to periodically strengthen […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 18th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments

How Drones Are Being Used in Public Safety

Search and rescue missions can be dangerous and difficult, and every second counts. Despite the best efforts of public service professionals who work hard to save lives, there are places and situations that are can put their lives in as much danger as the victims they’re trying to reach.

So what tools can these public service agencies bring into play to help them ensure their own safety and still reach those that are injured and locate those who are missing? The answer may be in drone technology.

Here are some of the advantages of using a mechanical drone system to locate those that are missing or injured.

Cost

It’s worth mentioning that search and rescue missions are expensive. They take a large amount of personnel and hours, and a long, thorough search under those conditions is bound to be expensive.

But with a drone, or a fleet of drones searching for a victim, that cost can be minimized without sacrificing accuracy.

One drone can search an area in minutes that would take human searchers hours to complete.

Post-Search Technology

The video technology used by state of the art drones can allow search and rescue teams the chance to analyze the footage a drone has collected and perhaps spot something the drone was unable to identify.

Video quality has increased in drone technology to such an extent that a team of police or firefighters or search volunteers can get a clear, crisp, bird’s-eye-view of massive amounts of territory so they can find the missing victims faster.

Rapid Assessment

In a situation where fire or severe weather is the concern, a drone’s flight can provide on the spot data that workers might not be able to get. By sending a drone into an area that’s too dangerous for human surveillance, a search and rescue team can collect vital information on the location of accident victims and the best route to reach them.

Quicker Deployment

When search planes and helicopters are required in a rescue situation, it often takes a lot of time to prepare them for takeoff and reconnaissance. But a drone can be launched on extremely short notice, and they can be built to handle extreme conditions like fire, wind and severe weather.

The more quickly a drone can be deployed, the better chance an accident victim or missing person […]

All content provided on this blog are mostly opinions of the author and is only intended for informational purposes. KOVA Corporation makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. This blog may contain external links to other sites. KOVA Corporation does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information of other websites, blogs, or these other links. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended, and do not necessarily imply an endorsement or recommendation of any views expressed, products or services offered within them.

April 13th, 2017|Workforce Management|0 Comments
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