RapidSOS is excited to welcome Jamison Peevyhouse, a public safety industry thought leader and Past President of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), to our team as Director of Customer Success.
Jamison brings his experience, passion, and industry knowledge to RapidSOS to further our cause building technology that protects lives. We sat down with Jamison to understand his experience in public safety, his expectations for the future of 911, and what he hopes to achieve at RapidSOS.
Jamison began his journey in public service and 911 operations in 1998 when he served as a midnight shift telecommunicator in a medium-sized 911 center. Throughout his 26 years as a public safety professional, he served as the trainer, supervisor, and director of Weakley County 911 in Tennessee. Jamison also served as the Statewide Training Coordinator for the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, where he trained over 2,400 telecommunicators across the state.
As an influential voice in the public safety industry, Jamison has received many awards, including the TN APCO Director of the Year award, the Senator Joe Haynes Award for Excellence, and the NENA Hall of Fame award.
As the nation transitions to Next Generation 911 (NG911), it’s becoming more difficult to find qualified applicants willing and able to perform the functions of an emergency communications specialist.
Faced with a looming staffing crisis, it’s more important than ever for companies like RapidSOS to support the 911 industry by streamlining workflows and processes. This includes providing them with georeferenced actionable data to enable efficient call processing and a quicker and more accurate level of response.
“One of the challenges in the public safety industry is that agencies hire new mindset staff but are only able to provide them with old mindset tools. This is why next-generation technologies are needed.” – Jamison Peevyhouse
Today, connected devices, platforms, and systems can provide a wealth of contextual data for 911 and first responders through the emergency response data platform.
Reflecting on the Haiti earthquake, wherein public safety agencies used crowdsourced data as an important amplification tool to assist relief efforts, Jamison realized the potential impact data could have across the board. Social media proved to be lifesaving, providing dispatchers with awareness beyond what callers could articulate through phone calls. It offered first responders real-time updates and live imagery as the situation developed, and helped connect survivors with friends and family. All of this aided first responders in their search and rescue efforts.
One of the biggest opportunities for 911 today is to leverage the data stored in the connected devices and platforms that we already use every day. RapidSOS’s emergency response data platform serves as the bridge between this data and first responders by transmitting incident-specific data to first responders in real-time. This helps expedite response and ensures that the right personnel and care are dispatched to the scene. The RapidSOS platform is accessible by 911 at no cost and can empower emergency communications specialists to become next-gen minded.
In an emergency, the most important piece of information for first responders is the location. With the support of public safety, many industry partners have worked together to solve the location challenge. But what comes next?
When asked what other types of data are valuable to dispatchers, Jamison highlighted sensor data from smart homes, buildings, security systems, and connected vehicles. Sensor data can help validate an emergency situation before first responders arrive on-scene and enable telecommunicators to assign an appropriate response level for each incident.
For example, the importance of incident-specific data is evident in the home security industry. Research from Harvard University and the Urban Institute suggests that 90-99 percent of home security alarms are false, yet first responders lack the data to distinguish real alarms from false ones. To solve this challenge, companies like Cove are becoming RapidSOS Ready to deliver smart home data to dispatchers via the RapidSOS platform upon detecting an emergency. By integrating sensor data from smart homes into emergency response workflows, dispatchers will be able to check key indicators (such as temperature, smoke, etc.) to gain contextual awareness before arriving on scene. In an industry with a staffing shortage, the reduction of officer response to false alarms can save a substantial amount of money and resources.
Fear and uncertainty come naturally with change. With the industry’s transition to NG911, another prevalent challenge is the hesitation to adopt new tools and processes that deliver supplemental emergency data to the 911 center. Many agencies are new to receiving data types from different sources such as smart homes and connected vehicles directly on their screens and may feel overwhelmed without proper training on how to operationalize this information.
To overcome this, Jamison urges 911 center directors to create policies that encourage the adoption of new technologies. By developing training programs that incentivize employees to increase utilization and guaranteeing a seamless transition to new processes through quality assurance, dispatchers will feel more prepared integrating NG911 tools into their workflows.
“Public safety professionals are committed to being the best of the best. It’s important to ensure that leveraging industry resources is part of the call-taking process and becomes the industry norm.”
Jamison is passionate about fostering a culture of collaboration in public safety organizations – he’ll lead RapidSOS’s customer success team to become even stronger partners with public safety. We look forward to furthering RapidSOS’s mission with Jamison!