It has been a few years since your public safety answering point (PSAP) or control room was renovated. New desks have been installed and space has become a rare commodity. Emergency calls now don’t come in only by phone, but increasingly via apps and SMS. Which systems are capable of processing this information? Many of them are no longer state-of-the-art and breakdowns are totally unacceptable. To keep rising costs in check, the PSAP has to extend its services. The keyword here is: Integration.
As a project leader tasked with planning a new PSAP or control room you face an enormous challenge and a seemingly endless number of questions. What will your PSAP look like in 5 to 10 years? Who is going to be working there? What kind of technical systems will be needed? Is everybody working mobile or will they all be based in the same location as is the case today? Will a video wall be needed? How is the PSAP going to function under pressure? How high will the PSAP’s energy consumption be? And the costs of construction and subsequent operation have to be factored in as well.
Many more issues will follow. For example, after the PSAP has been built and equipped, for anything up to 20 years it will have to satisfy increasingly stringent operational requirements, including in the continuously evolving area of communication systems.
Permanent communication – there is no way around it
Modern communication technology, cloud sharing, tablets and progressively more powerful mobile data grids allow us to work from nearly any location of choice. This means the PSAP can adopt new functions, and the same applies to police patrol cars. Today, for instance, an entire PSAP workplace unit can be fitted into one vehicle and run without a problem.
From the moment the call comes in and during the rush to the scene up to the point of arrival, communication between the PSAP and the emergency responders has to be guaranteed at all times. The call taker who initiates the operation is no longer available for fresh tasks and has to remain in contact with the responding emergency team until their assignment is completed. This demands a high level of skill from each member of the organisation. The job requires not only competent personnel, but cutting-edge technical systems too. The display of information updates has to be fast, simple and fit for purpose giving the person at the monitor station the best possible overview of the situation.
Extended teamwork leads to integration
Besides optimum technical systems, difficult tasks call for a team that works well together. At a serious traffic accident, police, fire brigade and ambulance services work hand in hand. To promote this cooperation even more, a number of Swiss cantons have started to integrate their police, firefighter and ambulance PSAPs into one single answering point in order to facilitate better communication among the different units and pursue the goal of saving lives with even greater determination. The integration of a PSAP can also open up more possibilities. In addition to day-to-day operations, a PSAP can be used to monitor critical infrastructure such as power plants or water supply stations, just to name just two examples.
Who is the right partner?
Experience in complex projects is the key. Conrom has been planning, building and renovating PSAPs and power plant and security company control rooms for more than 20 years. Conrom not only supports you at the beginning of your project with coaching and consulting, it also assists you in the planning and design of your PSAP. As an independent engineering firm, Conrom undertakes a variety of other tasks too, including system integration.
Conrom knows from past projects that the road to a new PSAP is not an easy one. After a needs analysis and feasibility studies, Conrom develops a 3D model of the PSAP and adjacent rooms. Conrom has the capability to develop an accurate-to-dimension model of your future PSAP in a very short time and also provides PSAP documentation, a layout of the rooms with dimensions, as well as energy demand analyses and building cost estimates.
Conrom is with you from start to finish
“There is no future without a past” also applies to the planning of PSAPs. You do not need to follow every technical innovation, but should stay true to your core business without losing sight of technical and social trends.
For further information or an open discussion about PSAPs do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Christian Spälti, CEO
Newsletter 01 / May 25th 2015:
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