The new NG9-1-1 system makes it possible for all nine counties to be part of a single regional network -- the first in the state -- designed to reduce costs and improve survivability for their Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). The Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project, encompassing the counties of Clearfield, Jefferson, Elk, Cameron, McKean, Clarion, Warren, Crawford and Forest, complies with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency guidelines for 9-1-1 infrastructure.
"By combining resources, we have created the path forward to increase the protection of our communities and have realized a significant cost savings," said Mike McAllister, Elk County Office of Emergency Services director. "We project our upfront cost savings to be about $1.8 million and our annual maintenance savings to exceed $200,000."
"This powerful network places the counties associated with the Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications project at the forefront of the trend for regionalization in public safety communications," said Mike Pavick, vice president of sales for Cassidian Communications.
The design of the Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project includes two-host sites. With a Cassidian Communications' geo-diverse VESTA®/Sentinel® 4 NG9-1-1 call taking system at its core, each host is capable of running the entire network in the event of the other's unavailability. Each county is connected to each of the hosts via diverse and redundant fiber paths.
"When we first met with the northern tier counties in 2011, we recommended they explore the feasibility of a regional NG9-1-1 capable telephony project," said Michael McGrady, President of MCM Consulting Group, Inc., which spearheaded the public safety communications project. "We believed such a design would not only improve their operational efficiency and increase the survivability of their critical networks, but also significantly reduce their capital, annual maintenance and network costs."
These factors are now being realized as key benefits by the seven counties that have successfully cut over the VESTA®/Sentinel® 4 NG9-1-1 call taking system inside their PSAPs. The two remaining counties will soon follow suit.
McAllister says the concept of a regionalized 9-1-1 system appeared a bit overwhelming at first, especially since all 9-1-1 systems were working as individual silos. The PSAPs were not interconnected or capable of NG9-1-1, nor could they transfer 9-1-1 calls between counties with automatic location identification or automatic number identification. Redundancy was also a major concern.
"What is most important to me about our regional system is that we now have backup in the event we must evacuate our 9-1-1 center," said Tracy Zents, Jefferson County Department of Emergency Services director. "With this design now in place, the other counties in the system can pick up our 9-1-1 calls within seconds."
In addition to its new NG9-1-1 communications capabilities, counties within the northern tier are now capable of providing transport and connectivity for other systems such as computer-aided dispatch, graphical information systems, interoperable radio and emergency management, as well as interfacing with a statewide emergency services IP network (ESInet).
McAllister says they are getting inquiries from other counties that may be interested in joining.
"We are honored to be involved in the project, along with the team at MCM Consulting Group, Inc., and we are confident that our VESTA®/Sentinel® system fully supports these Pennsylvania counties' good stewardship of taxpayer dollars and continued public safety efforts," said Pavick.
About MCM Consulting Group, Inc. (
MCM Consulting Group, Inc. is a privately held consulting firm dedicated to serving the Public Safety, Government and Healthcare communities. MCM team members include Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) experts, EMS & Healthcare specialists, GIS specialists, HSEEP Exercise designers and exercisers, PSAP, NG9-1-1 & RF designers, Telephony & Tower Site specialists and Two-way Radio experts. MCM specializes in providing Public Safety Telecommunications, and GIS and Emergency Management Consulting, as well as EMA, Telecommunicator, Supervisor, and Management Training & HSEEP exercises to Healthcare, Emergency Management, PSAPs, Public Safety Agencies, Regional Task Forces, School Districts and Universities.
About Cassidian Communications (
Cassidian Communications, an EADS North America company, is a global leader and trusted source for mission-critical communications technologies, including NG9-1-1 call-taking systems, emergency notification solutions and services, and P25 land mobile radio networks and LTE. For over four decades, Cassidian Communications has upheld its promise to keep people connected when it matters most, consistently designing solutions with an open mind and creating smarter, more effective ways to ensure communities are safe. For Cassidian Communications, CRITICAL MATTERS. The company is headquartered in Temecula, Calif., with facilities located in Richardson, Texas, Franklin, Tenn. and Gatineau, Quebec.
About EADS North America (
EADS North America is the U.S.-based operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense, and related services. EADS contributes more than $14 billion to the U.S. economy annually and supports over 225,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers. EADS North America, headquartered in Herndon, Va., offers a broad array of advanced solutions to meet U.S. military and commercial requirements, including fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, homeland security systems, public safety communications, defense electronics and avionics, and threat detection systems.
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