Homeland Security & Public Safety

911 Telecommunications

Reliable and uninterrupted 9-1-1 service that allows the public to contact public safety providers is a priority for COG and area governments. COG’s early support of emergency communication for the region resulted in the District of Columbia and its suburbs becoming one of the first metropolitan communities in America to fully convert to the 9-1-1 system.

Local officials continue to work with COG to safeguard the system’s reliability and plan for future technological advancements. After a powerful Derecho storm led to outages in Northern Virginia, the COG Board commissioned a report calling on phone companies to take actions to ensure 9-1-1 reliability. This effort informed new rules by the Federal Communications Commission to hold telecommunications providers accountable for providing resilient services to both citizens and 9-1-1 call centers. COG also established a permanent 9-1-1 Center Managers Committee to ensure continued coordination.

Officials are also studying how to move beyond old technology provided through traditional telecommunications carriers and improve the region’s public safety communication infrastructure by implementing Next Generation (NextGen) 911 technologies. These technologies will enhance 9-1-1 center operations with voice, data, texting, web and visual information and add redundancy and diversity so the system will be less at risk of a failure.


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