Rapid Response for First Responders

How NETSCOUT performance monitoring solutions can help proactively assure emergency services.

First Responder on radio handset

As leading organizations across many industries are taking advantage of modern technology to rapidly evolve their operations, government entities can, at times, have slower adoption rates. Although government processes may take longer to change, the public expects to leverage the latest and greatest innovation has to offer—especially when it comes to matters of life and death. For critical government services such as first responders and 911 dispatch, time is of the essence. Assuring continuous network and application performance for emergency services is key to providing the critical care that communities need.

Performance and Response Times Are Critical for Emergency Services

Digital transformation has played a significant role in the evolution of emergency services. The term “smart cities” has been coined to describe cities that are connected efficiently through mobile technology, thereby improving emergency response times and community care. A McKinsey smart-cities report, for example, claimed “smart centers” that can optimize call centers and outline optimal driving routes for emergency vehicles have the potential to cut emergency response times by 20 to 35 percent.

It is clear that in today’s world, modern technology gives city officials the tools to vastly improve the timeliness and reliability of critical services needed in emergency situations where every second matters. Emergency services departments rely on VoIP, call center caller ID and call-routing, navigation and mapping tools, and many other forms of technology to quickly connect with citizens. Quality of communication is essential to ensure the message is clear between parties and the proper assistance is sent to the correct location. When this technology is not properly and proactively monitored to assure performance, breakdowns in communication are inevitable and costly to the community.

One major U.S. city experienced the worst-case scenario when citizens began running to firehouses for help after experiencing wait times of more than one minute for their 911 calls. Rather than waiting for ambulances, parents were driving children with medical emergencies to the hospital themselves. Whether this issue stemmed from staffing shortages or technical performance problems, the negative impact of delayed 911 response times was felt drastically by this community. Delays in addressing incoming 911 calls and initiating emergency service dispatches can be perilous—lifesaving treatment may be delayed, damage from fires and other natural disasters may be more catastrophic, and violent situations may have additional time to escalate further.

This highlights the value of network and application monitoring solutions to assure performance when emergency services are contacted. Slowdowns, degradations, outages, and impaired voice and video quality can have a detrimental impact for first responders and, in turn, for citizens in need. Additionally, when slowdowns may be tied to staff shortages at skilled dispatch centers, the need for automation in assuring quality network and application performance becomes even more critical.

Combatting Limited IT Resources

Skilled staff is a problem in many areas today.  Maintaining local IT resources in each emergency services location often is not economically feasible. This highlights the need for IT staff to have ready access to a centralized packet-based monitoring solution to enhance visibility and reduce complexity. With approximately 52,000 registered fire stations across the United States, the potential to improve performance operations with a solution such as NETSCOUT’s nGenius Enterprise Performance Management is significant. Conducting both real-packet and synthetic tests to assess performance quality from any location has tremendous value in preparing for emergencies that arise unexpectedly.

NETSCOUT Performance Monitoring Can Help

NETSCOUT solutions help government IT teams proactively monitor the performance of critical networks and applications anywhere, at any time. With nGenius Enterprise Performance Management solutions, IT can identify, isolate, triage, and reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) for critical issues. For first responders relying on alarming systems, constituent-placed calls, 911 dispatch communications, and efficient call routing, getting ahead of blind spots and preventing visibility gaps allows them to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Learn more about how nGenius Enterprise Performance Management helped this city increase visibility and improve troubleshooting to support emergency services.