Promoting interoperability: the case for discipline-specific PSAPS
Walsh, Thomas Michael
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Given that public safety answering points (PSAPs or 9-1-1 dispatch centers) are undergoing a process of consolidation, should that consolidation occur as a function of simple geographic proximity or discipline? This thesis investigated the differences among different dispatch disciplines, the effect of dispatching on interoperability, case studies investigating the operations of several different models of PSAP consolidation, and a theoretical case study involving inter-discipline and intra-discipline consolidation of PSAPS in King County, Washington. A survey of nine PSAPS of various sizes, types, and regions was conducted to determine their capabilities in voice and operational interoperability, how often opportunities to take advantage of that interoperability were encountered, and finally, to what extent interoperability was exercised when those opportunities did present themselves. The findings indicated intra-discipline interoperability (fire-to-fire or law enforcement-to-law enforcement) is not only intuitively of more value than inter-discipline interoperability (law enforcement-to-fire) but is actually prioritized by PSAPS in their day-to-day operations. Given that PSAP consolidation is occurring, the conclusion of this thesis is that interoperability within disciplines can be best improved by consolidating PSAPS by discipline while still realizing the benefits of geographic consolidation.
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