Video calls help the world’s northernmost Emergency Dispatch Center
A look at the future of 1-1-0 emergency calls:
Besides watching reindeer, the spectacular Norwegian tundra, and the northern lights that dance above their head, new game-changing technology allows dispatchers to have an eyes-on-the scene.
With 48.631 square kilometers and a population of approx. 70.000 the transport distance is often long for the first responders when an accident occurs.
Although covering an area larger than the whole of Denmark, Finnmark 110 Fire Dispatch Centre is one of the smallest emergency centers in Norway.
The geographical distances, together with the fact that some of Norway’s lowest temperatures (-45 degree celsius) are often recorded here during wintertime require robust emergency preparedness at all times.
This is why Finnmark has decided to implement a video call solution for its dispatch center. Video calls enable them to assess and thereby dispatch the right level of resources when a person dials the 1-1-0 emergency number and needs the fire departments to help.
“We are now able to “see” the incident and thereby form a clear picture from the location of the incident. This enables us to think proactively and take the necessary actions. We are also able to communicate directly with the first responders and inform them about the amount of damage they can expect at arrival.
We have had several incidents where caller video has given us greater insight and understanding as a supplement to the regular phone call. This ensures the correct usage of our resources. We can support and guide the caller on what to do at the scene of an accident before the arrival of our fire crew.
Due to the large geographical area in Finnmark, it is important that the right resources are dispatched from the beginning of an emergency and the system helps with that but our incident support is also taken to the next level. With live-caller video, our dispatchers get a well-proven tool to help them make the right decisions and communicate this information to the necessary responding units.-Gerd Isaksen Head of 110 Dispatch in Finnmark
How does it work?
When a call reaches the emergency dispatcher many times the caller is under a great deal of stress and as a result of that, there can be a communication breakdown. Even though dispatchers are taxed with deciphering such information and relaying it to the responding units prior to arrival, unfortunately, many of the times the first responders arrive on an incident they realize that the caller’s information may not be completely accurate.
With the SMS to Video solution in place, the operator who answers the emergency call can text the caller’s smartphone with a unique video link whilst continuing the regular phone call. When the caller opens the URL and allows the operator to access the smartphone camera, the operator is now able to see what the callers see, in real-time.
This way operators can easily assess what it means when a caller says; “there is heavy smoke but no flames” or when a caller tells; “there is a small shed on fire”. It is very difficult to assess all the consequences which might be related to this isolated information without being able to see what the caller sees.
– Due to the large geographical area, it is important that the right resources are dispatch from the beginning of an emergency. With our SMS to Video tool, our operators can validate that they set the right level for the call.– Gerd Isaksen, Head of 1-1-0 Finnmark
Following the success of the pilot, the decision was made to permanently implement the SMS to Video tool for dispatchers at Finnmark 110 so they can gain accurate situational awareness whenever they are in doubt or need clarification during an emergency call.