King County E-911 Program Updates - April, 2020

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E-911 Updates

9-1-1 is still open - call only if you need police, fire or medical assistance

April |  2020

Bens picture

Program Manager Update

“May you live in interesting times.” The ironic quote has never been truer than it is today. I am sure we all long to get back to normal and would welcome a stretch of boring. We at the Program Office are striving to support our PSAP partners, while also keeping our teams safe and continue to move business forward.

As I talk with our PSAPs, I am struck by the need for nimbleness and flexibility, and while we have been able to fulfill the requests thus far, the new architecture platform would deliver far more capability in both cases. COVID-19 has made us rethink business as usual; perhaps the time has come to support one of Deb’s favorite concepts – 9-1-1 in a box. The capability has been around for a while to truly distribute 9-1-1 call taking outside of the 4 walls of a PSAP, however the dispatch side has lagged a bit. With the demands to maintain social distance, it has become obvious the industry needs to adapt and change.

I want to close with a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of our PSAPs, their call takers, dispatchers and support personnel. They are working around the clock to help us and respond to that call that none of us want to make. Thank you all for the support; stay distant and stay safe.



Much work has been done since the last financial report. The issue of core operating costs outpacing revenues still exists. Efforts to reduce expenses and streamline processes while creating transparency in reporting to all stakeholders has been successful. The 2019 fiscal year ended under budget and under forecast.  

E-911 Program Office staff, along with key stakeholders in the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) community, have established a Financial Work Group who’s focus is on creating a new funding policy. This new policy will aim at creating a fair and equitable funding distribution model, which will take into account the entire E-911 system and provide a view into the long term financial health of the fund. Having this information will make it possible to ensure a more accurate forecast for planning purposes and future revenue needs. 

The E-911 Program Office finance team is committed to continued efforts of cost reductions, vendor management and streamlining processes whenever and wherever possible. Success in this will create a strong foundation for long term financial responsibility.


Public Education & Outreach

The 9-1-1 outreach team continues to prepare for this years events with new and updated education materials.  Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the current in-the-community outreach programs are suspended until further notice. However, visit  "For Kids: Emery Page" on the website for fun activities and downloadable teaching aids.  The team continues to provide on-line interaction opportunities.

The 9-1-1 center teams are currently focusing on operational issues to support callers and first responders - the E-911 Program Office outreach team wishes them all health and safety in these difficult times. Everyone looks forward to getting out and engaging with each other and the community again when social distancing is no longer necessary.  


Using Technology To

Keep People Safe


The technical team is helping the Telecommunicators keep the public safe by staying home and staying healthy.  The recently completed hardware refresh of the 9-1-1 call handling equipment has reduced the need for physical repairs.  We are using technology to continue to monitor and support the systems remotely.  The PSAPs are adapting their operating environment to accommodate social distancing within their centers.   Our staff is working with the vendor to modify existing configurations to extend primary call taking into separate physical areas. 

Work on the future 9-1-1 system continues.  The Platform Modernization project team is refining the new system requirements using online collaboration and virtual meetings. 

The technical team is unwavering in our mission to keep people safe.


Legislation and 9-1-1

The 60th Legislative Session closed Thursday, March 11th with several items affecting the 9-1-1 industry.

Passage of SHB 2758 recognizing post traumatic stress disorders of 911 emergency dispatch personnel.  This was a great recognition of the stressful work dispatchers and telecommunicators do every day.

Passage of ESSB 6168 (2020 Supplemental Operating Budget) that included a $48,000 GFS appropriation for a "Travis Alert" outreach demonstration. While it was not clear in the budget what this will look like, it could be similar to the bill that died in the House (HB 2884) that provided for the development of a Yakima and Snohomish County pilot program to be completed by December 2020.

Separate from current legislation, the State 911 Emergency Coordination Office (SECO) and the State 911 Advisory Committee continue to work on what as been termed "The 911 Efficiency Study" (2019 ESHB 1109 proviso calling for a report on the 911 system).  While current efforts have slowed considerably due to the impacts of COVID-19, the report should still be ready for the 2021 Legislative Session.

The State 911 Advisory Committee is completing the update of the RCW's affecting 9-1-1.  This has been a 3 year project to modernize the language to reflect the current and future needs of 9-1-1 statewide.  The changes are expected to be introduced in the 2021 Legislative Session.

King County E-911 Mission Statement

The regional E-911 system provides an emergency communications link between the people of King County and appropriate public safety responders.