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Minneapolis 9-1-1 & Hennepin EMS Using FirstWatch Real-Time Situational Awareness

Date: 2012-08-21
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To ensure that police and emergency medical services in Minneapolis and Hennepin County arrive on scene as quickly as possible, the Minneapolis Emergency Communication Center and the Hennepin EMS Emergency Communication Center have deployed a new system that monitors every 9-1-1 call in real-time.

Using the FirstWatch Real-Time Situational Awareness System, communications center, police and EMS staff can monitor every aspect of a 9-1-1 call and emergency response as it unfolds, including:

  • How long it takes for 9-1-1 operators to process calls
  • How long dispatchers take to send police or an ambulance
  • How long until responders arrive on scene
  • How long until that ambulance or police vehicle is back in service and ready to respond to another emergency

“If a response takes too long, command staff can act on the problem immediately,” says Chris Kummer, EMS manager for Hennepin Emergency Medical Services, which dispatches ambulances for the city of Minneapolis and other municipalities in Hennepin County. Under their old system, he could run monthly or quarterly response time reports, but that meant delays in how quickly command staff could identify and act on calls that took too long. "The number one benefit of FirstWatch is real-time information, right at my fingertips," Kummer says. "I can monitor the health of things throughout our system at any given moment on my desk top, at home or in the field."

By integrating with the 9-1-1 system, FirstWatch can also track and spot emerging threats such as pandemic flu, heat-related injuries or mass casualty crises, enabling public safety to respond quickly and more effectively.

In Minneapolis, 9-1-1 calls are answered by the Minneapolis Emergency Communication Center, which also dispatches Minneapolis Police and Fire. “Minneapolis Police plan to use FirstWatch to track crime trends and to keep an eye out for unfolding crises that demand a coordinated, nimble response,” says Heather Hunt, Minneapolis's director of emergency communications. "The other feature we are excited about is its performance management capability," Hunt says. "We are looking at our call processing and dispatch times for in-progress, high priority calls."

The FirstWatch deployment was paid for by the city of Minneapolis with a $240,000 Urban Areas Security Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

For more information see www.firstwatch.net

- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via FirstWatch, 8/20/12)

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