Understanding and Solving the Problems that Non-Service-Initialized Devices and Non-Emergency 911 Calls Cause for PSAPs, First Responders, and the Public

(by Zach Goldberg and Eilif Vanderkolk, TLPC Student Attorneys)

Over the past several months, the TLPC, in collaboration with the National 911 Program, has researched problems burdening 911 call centers, with the aim of discovering solutions to improve the efficiency of emergency response throughout the country. Specifically, we have examined the negative impact of calls made from non-service-initialized devices (“NSIDs”) and high non-emergency 911 call volume upon the efficacy of public safety answering points (PSAPs). We aimed to gain deeper understanding of how 911 systems work, the difficulties they face, and how changes in law and policy, technology, and consumer awareness and behaviors might help. However, crafting effective solutions to these problems is difficult because the factors contributing to high non-emergency 911 call volume figures are complex, and reliable, precise studies and data is scarce. We explore these problems in the attached white paper.