Next Generation 911 Could Save More Lives

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

SirensFalls City staff members are utilizing the Next Generation 911 tools to help save lives. The city has already implemented text to 911 and is working on implementing other components like the address point layer to make it easier to find people in need of help. 

This process has required state and regional collaboration. 

To update Nebraska’s 911 system, state lawmakers passed a bill in 2018. The bill was based on the 911 Service System, Next Generation 911 Master Plan which outlines how to upgrade the system, including the new technologies that can be used to do so. 

Dave Sankey, director of Nebraska’s 911 Department said that with the aid of MCP (a consulting firm who won the contract to consult on next-generation 911 implementation), a five-prong approach is being used to overcome current obstacles to a new system using the help of statewide working groups. 

Government Technology magazine reported that Eric Caddy, an MCP spokesman, said, “The working groups are led by members of the 911 Service System Advisory Committee and include Nebraskan stakeholders who will give local, logistical input and MCP-provided subject-matter experts who will relay nationwide trends. ‘The working groups are really designed to work through the minutiae… and then bring their recommendations back to the committee. The committee is then responsible to make those recommendations to the Public Service Commission,’ said Caddy” (Groves, 2019).

One of the advantages of Next Generation 911 is the ability to locate where callers are calling from.

A key advantage, one that could help to save lives, is the ability to determine where callers are calling from. This is especially important when dispatchers cannot get the address from callers due to the danger they are in or them simply not knowing the address. Once fully implemented, this single feature is expected to improve response times and accuracy. That being said, moving every 911 agency throughout the state to this new system is not without challenges. 

 “One of our challenges that we’re trying to get on top of right away is getting our GIS data in a position where we can geospatially locate and route callers. We have a lot of work to do in that area,” Sankey said. “Once those [calls] are received, you’ll be able to locate the caller and route the caller to the appropriate PSAP based on the GIS data” (Groves, 2019).

This will require consolidating the 69 locally controlled and operated PSAPs. They expect to form up to ten regions with each region having the hardware located in two hosts, with other PSAPs connecting remotely. 

When will Next Generation 911 be implemented?

The Next Generation 911 system could be implemented statewide by 2022. In Falls City, it was implemented in November 2017. 

As part of the 911 Southeast region comprised of 16 counties, Falls City was able to share resources with regional partners. This has made the implementation of NGEN 911 faster and economically feasible. Without the support of the regional group upgrading the equipment would have been cost prohibitive. 

Falls City is looking ahead and will continue to work with the state to fully implement the Next Generation 911 model for the benefit of our citizens. 


Groves, P. (2019, May 29). Nebraska's Long Haul to Implement Next-Generation 911. Retrieved from Goverment Technology:


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