Emergency Communications Safety Net: Integrating 911 and Other Services [Updated February 28, 2008] [open pdf - 129KB]
"This report deals primarily with 911 and its recent history. It discusses the existing situation of 911's capacity to respond in emergencies, some proposals to improve the system, and recent legislative activity. Proposals include better connections between 911 call centers and emergency responders, building a more robust capacity, incorporating Internet protocols, developing the capacity for back-up call centers after disasters have occurred, and coordinating 911 with other types of call centers, such as the 211 centers that provide municipal services."... "There is a growing realization among public safety officials, policy makers and others that 911 services could be part of a larger solution for emergency communications that links citizens with first responders and with emergency services such as hospitals through an interconnected system of communications networks and call centers. 911 networks might be part of a nationwide capacity that provides communications interoperability; they might be linked to other networks that also receive citizen-activated calls for help or assistance; they could also be incorporated into emergency alert broadcasts. Proposals for how to provide a fully integrated emergency response system have not crystallized into a consensus. The 9/11 Commission Report recommended that 911 call centers -- also called Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs -- be included in planning for emergency responses. Congress, which has since 1999 passed two bills to further the deployment of 911, is reviewing ways to expand 911 capabilities and make it more accessible and effective. Congress is also evaluating ways to improve emergency alerts and interoperable communications for public safety."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32939