The British Territory in the Caribbean adopts an integrated, geo-redundant emergency call management system. Tony Parrott explains how the new system addresses current needs and provides a foundation for future services.Earlier this year, the Department of Public Safety Communications in the Cayman Islands moved to a Solacom Guardian 9-1-1 Solution to manage all the emergency calls it receives each year. The new NG9-1-1 solution brings advanced, IP-based emergency call handling capabilities to the three islands that make up the British Territory. It’s a full-featured system that, when fully deployed, will enable call takers to process calls faster, receive text-to-911 messages, and locate wireless callers with pinpoint-accurate mapping capabilities. And it’s all part of the Department’s plans to prepare for an NG9-1-1 multimedia future.
New Capabilities Needed
Time made the move to NG9-1-1 in the Cayman Islands necessary. The Solacom Guardian 9-1-1 Solution replaces the 24-year-old, end-of-life legacy system at the main public safety answering point (PSAP) in George Town on Grand Cayman island. The PSAP handles all 9-1-1 calls from all three Cayman Islands — Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman — and is responsible for dispatching all police, fire, and emergency medical technician (EMT) first response teams across the 264-square-kilometre (102-square-mile) territory.
Julian Lewis, the director of the Department of Public Safety Communications for the Cayman Islands, explains that the old system the PSAP was relying on had reached the end of its useful life.
“Our old system had been in operation since 1996 and we had taken it as far as we could as we moved from basic 9-1-1 to Enhanced 9-1-1,” Julian Lewis says. “So, we needed to move to an IP-based system that would allow us to step into NG9-1-1 services and also make it easy to include any future requirements seamlessly, without having to remove and rebuild what we were purchasing today. The Solacom Guardian solution provides that foundation and gives us the flexibility to add more advanced features and functions in a staged fashion without replacing the core system every time we want to add new capabilities.”
Integrated System Enables Efficient Call Management
The complete solution designed and deployed for the Cayman Islands provides the eight-position PSAP with the full-featured call handling and management system it needed. The solution includes Guardian 9-1-1 Call Handling at all call taker desktops, supports text-to-911 with Guardian Text, and enables mapping of caller locations and handling of 9-1-1 calls directly from the map screen with Guardian Map.
The Department of Public Safety Communications also opted for active remote monitoring of the end-to-end solution by Solacom technicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If service is interrupted for any reason, the solution includes a fully redundant backup facility two miles away with full-featured call handling and management for up to three call takers.
“We are far removed from the continent so it was important for us to have the right technologies in place with a vendor that could provide ongoing support for the system and work with our local service provider, Avcom, to ensure that our system is working as intended at all times,” says Lewis. “We looked at Solacom’s track record providing that kind of support to other PSAPs and it was obvious that Solacom offered the right level of service to support an international PSAP.”
Finally, to streamline operations, the solution also includes the Guardian Management Information System (MIS) that enables the PSAP to collect, record, and analyze all call data for all 9-1-1 calls.
Ready for NG9-1-1
The new emergency call management solution in the Cayman Islands fits the needs of the island territory and provides the Department of Public Safety Communications with the NG9-1-1 services it was looking for. That was important to Julian and his team because they are on an island and they are isolated, so they need to be self-sufficient. We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with them to address all their immediate NG9-1-1 needs and provide a solid foundation for future enhancements.
To learn more about how a full-featured Guardian emergency call management solution can position your PSAP for future NG9-1-1 requirements, visit our solution page