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Ref: Minneapolis enhanced 911 system helps situational awareness and response

Government Technology

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New 911 System Enhances Minneapolis' Ability to Respond to Emergencies

News Release
Apr 13, 2007
Minneapolis' new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system is up and running, providing 911 operators and emergency responders with powerful new ways to respond smarter and faster to emergency calls. The new CAD system went live in late March 2007, following two years of work to select and install the best system possible. The system is a nationwide model and is part of Minneapolis' ongoing commitment to finding new and innovative ways to make the city a safe place to call home. The new technology also makes the most of our public safety dollars.

Minneapolis 911 operators handle more than 1,200 emergency calls on a typical day, and many of them require response from the police or firefighters, often acting as first responders in medical emergencies. The new system includes powerful new features, many of which give 911 dispatchers and emergency responders more and better information during an emergency.

One of the most powerful features of the new CAD system is an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system that allows dispatchers to see on a map the locations of police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances throughout the city, even when they're on the move. That allows dispatchers to send the closest vehicle to the scene of an incident, regardless of where the vehicle is normally stationed.

Not only can 911 dispatchers see the vehicle location information, but 193 police squad cars also have the CAD system on laptop computers that allows officers responding to an incident to see their location, as well as the locations of other nearby responders.

So far, 32 of the city's 44 fire vehicles have CAD and AVL systems installed, and the technology will soon be installed in the remaining 12 vehicles. For firefighters, vehicle location is just one useful new tool. The new system also allows fire crews on the way to an incident to view the entire, detailed dispatch report, and even to see building plans and aerial photographs so they can be better prepared when they arrive at the scene. Until now, firefighters only received an address and an acronym describing the nature of the incident without any detail.

Currently, 28 ambulances also use the CAD system and are able to be tracked through the system. Often, Minneapolis firefighters act as first responders to medical emergencies, and the new CAD system allows them to see the same medical pre-arrival information available to HCMC paramedics.

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