Latest Posts

Press Release: Regional Telecommunicator Academy Graduates Class #009

Press Release: Regional Telecommunicator Academy Graduates Class #009

ARLINGTON, Texas, January 28, 2020 — The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) will graduate 16 9-1-1 telecommunicators from its Regional Telecommunicator Academy (RTA) Class #009 on January 31 in Arlington. This class includes recruits from 12 different agencies, including Dallas ISD, the Mineral Wells Police Department, and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, among others.


The graduating recruits will have completed a rigorous four-week program that teaches equipment use, state mandates and regulations, how to handle emergency communications situations such as activeshootings, and more. Texas is the only state in the country that requires its telecommunicators to be licensed alongside peace officers and jailers, and NCT9-1-1 hosts the only 9-1-1 telecommunicator academy in the state. The district welcomes recruits from outside its region to participate and this year includes participants from Dallas ISD.


“At the academy, we’re not just training people to fill positions,” said NCT9-1-1 Training Coordinator Bret Batchelor. “We’re building a community of resiliency and comradery with our recruits. I want them to walk away with the skills to not only be successful at their new jobs, but to build a lifelong career as a 9-1-1 telecommunicator and to one day pass on their experiences to the next generation of dispatchers.” 


The program has graduated recruits from all over Texas and Arkansas since its inception in February of 2016 and continues to grow with classes held twice a year in the winter and summer.    


What: Graduation Ceremony for Regional Telecommunicator Academy Class #009 

Where: 600 Six Flags Drive Suite 226, Arlington, TX 76011 

When: January 31, 1:00 PM

Why: Celebrate the graduation of 16 new telecommunicators in North Texas


About the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District

The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) is responsible for 40 plus Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the 13 counties surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The district supports these PSAPs through maintaining and upgrading 9-1-1 equipment, providing up-to-date mapping information, training 9-1 telecommunicators, educating the public on the proper use of 9-1-1, and monitoring PSAP functionality and compliances. NCT9-1-1 serves a population of 1.7 million and 10,000+ square miles.

Your Old Phones Can Still Call 9-1-1

Your Old Phones Can Still Call 9-1-1

The proper amount and protocol for “screen time” has been a hot topic and often debated issue in parenting circles for a while now. Especially since technology has continued to affect every part of our lives. We at NCT9-1-1 aren’t here to pick a side — just to let you know that those old phones can still call 9-1-1. 

What is a non initialized phone call? 

As we near the end of 2019, NCT9-1-1 has started to pull some statistics on what 9-1-1 looked like for our region over the past year. The data we pulled included how many calls were made, how many were wireless versus wireline, how many texts to 9-1-1 occurred, the amount of abandoned calls, etc. One piece of data stood out to us: the number of non initialized phone calls. 

“Non initialized call” is industry jargon for a call made with a cell phone that is not connected to a calling service. Your old cell phones collecting dust in your kitchen junk drawer can still call 9-1-1 as long as it can be charged and turned on, though they do not provide a location or a call back number. This capability has saved lives in the past (an infamous example being the case of the Turpin children in California, whose daughter rescued herself and her siblings by calling 9-1-1 with a deactivated cell phone). 

However, few parents know that their old phones have this ability, and this leads to a huge amount of false calls to 9-1-1. Out of the 985,878 attempts to reach 9-1-1 in January to September in 2019, about 14% were from deactivated cell phones. Though a handful of these calls may have been legitimate 9-1-1 calls, the data is still skewed.

What should you do with your old phones?

If you’re not going to give your old phones to your kids to play with, what should you do with them? You can dispose of them properly or donate your old cell phones to a local women’s shelter where they will be utilized as untrackable, direct-to-9-1-1 devices. You can also keep your deactivated cell phone charged and in a central place in your home to use during an emergency.

Remember that when you give your old phone to your toddler, that phone can still call 9-1-1. If your child does happen to accidentally dial 9-1-1, the best thing you can do is stay on the line and explain the situation to the telecommunicator.

Reflections on 2019 from a 9-1-1 Perspective

Reflections on 2019 from a 9-1-1 Perspective

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the previous year, contemplate lessons learned, and begin planning for the new year ahead. Last year I identified “unstoppable” as the word for 2019. All in all, I think that has been accurate. December 3rd marked the first anniversary of the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District or NCT9-1-1. Due to this transition and starting a new district without cash reserves, our biggest challenges in 2019 centered around funding. But being unstoppable, this did not hamper productivity and accomplishments.

During our first year as a district, a Board of Managers was created, a Strategic Advisory Committee was appointed, and the district joined and participated in the Texas 9-1-1 Alliance. NCT9-1-1 hosted Regional Telecommunicator Academy classes #007 and #008, added Lifecare EMS in Parker County as a secondary PSAP, and completed implementation of a SD WAN solution for network diversity and dynamic routing.

The GIS team completed the transition from EGDMS to the newly created Regional GIS Data Quality Control process and implemented a new county disbursement model, the technology team replaced Uninterrupted Power Sources (UPS) at 35 sites and completed the microwave network, and the strategic services team executed new Interlocal Agreements for all PSAPs. The operations team completed a quality assurance resource document and the data team conducted Real Time Text (RTT) research, testing, outreach, and training. The support team worked behind the scenes and assisted in many of the completed projects.

NCT9-1-1 focused on PSAP engagement this year. Regular efforts ensured PSAPs have greater awareness and more communications. The staff brought in companies to talk about new technologies, hosted PSAP focus groups on relevant issues, and included PSAP feedback in product development and implementation. A Generational Advisory Board was created this year in an effort to create a culture that will attract Millennials and Gen Z to our workforce and assist in retaining current employees. This concept has been well-received, and we hope to expand the scope to PSAPs in the coming years.

Streaming services have not just become popular with the way we watch television, but with public safety as well. NCT9-1-1 introduced optional services for the PSAPs this year with Waze and flood warning sensors. In addition, we entered into a contract for data analytics with a company that is revolutionizing the way we have historically provided call statistics through reporting. Phase I has been completed and the PSAPs now have improved reporting with a user-friendly platform to run reports and access a dashboard of near real time information. The next phase will allow us to bring in the health of all our systems.

Perhaps the greatest thing to happen to 9-1-1 in Texas in 2019 was the passing of House Bill 1090, which reclassified telecommunicators from clerical workers to first responders. This was the culmination of a long effort to give telecommunicators the recognition they deserve. NCT9-1-1 celebrated with our PSAPs by hosting a Commencement Ceremony.

On a national level, NCT9-1-1 continued to coordinate the Early Adopter Summit with the third annual event held in South Carolina. This effort brings together early adopters in the 9-1-1 space and innovative companies throughout the country to collaborate and plan for the future. It was the largest event to date and was considered a great success. Special thanks to the NCT9-1-1 planning team!

The FCC issued a report detailing the cause and impact of a nationwide CenturyLink outage that disrupted 911 service for approximately 17 million Americans in December 2018. The report, issued after a thorough investigation in which NCT9-1-1 participated, outlined lessons learned from the incident and identified network reliability best practices that could have prevented or mitigated the effects of the outage. The FCC continues to stress the importance of reliability and works to ensure that our nation’s communications networks remain robust, reliable, and resilient.
The FCC also adopted rules that will help first responders locate people who call 9-1-1 from wireless phones in multi-story buildings, such as apartments and offices. The new rules will help emergency responders determine the floor level of a 9-1-1 caller. Specifically, wireless providers must transmit the caller’s vertical location, within three meters above or below the phone, to the 9-1-1 call center. This requirement will help emergency responders more accurately identify the floor level for most 9-1-1 calls. However, this is only the beginning. To make the data actionable, local 9-1-1 entities will need to enhance their GIS offerings and begin to implement floor plans and/or 3D mapping. This is a long road, but NCT9-1-1 has already begun planning.

The National 9-1-1 Progress Report by the National 9-1-1 Program states NG9-1-1 has now emerged as the desired level of 9-1-1 service. The NG9-1-1 Maturity Model consists of the following nine data elements: governance, routing/location, GIS, core services, ESInet, call handling, security, operations and optional interfaces. NCT9-1-1 has been focusing on all of these elements for the last several years and continues to do so.

As you can see, 2019 has been another busy and productive year for NCT9-1-1 and this region. Of course, we couldn’t do it without our partners of staff, PSAPs, elected officials, NCTCOG administration, vendors, and fellow 9-1-1 authorities. Thanks to you all for assisting us in being unstoppable!

As we change our focus to 2020, resiliency will be our word of the year. NCT9-1-1’s goal for resiliency will be achieved by being reflective, resourceful, robust, and redundant. Systems and processes will be examined in order to be efficient, inclusive, and interoperable while continuing to mitigate risks. This requires the willingness and ability to adopt alternative strategies in response to changing circumstances. NCT9-1-1 will measure success as the capacity of the district to survive, adapt, and grow, regardless of the chronic stress of the industry and the acute shocks of service interruptions and temporary financial limitations. NCT9-1-1 seeks not to just survive but to thrive regardless of the challenge. We will continue saving lives and making a difference!

9-1-1 in 2019: The Quiz

9-1-1 in 2019: The Quiz

A lot has changed for 9-1-1 in 2019. We’ve seen the adoption of new technologies, the rise in popularity for the reclassification of telecommunicators, and new regulations from the Federal Communications Commission. If you want to test how well you kept up with the changes, take our 9-1-1 in 2019 quiz. To view only the questions and answers, scroll to the bottom of this page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for the latest 9-1-1 news in 2020!


What does ADR stand for?

A: Additional Data Repository An ADR or additional data repository is a central point where useful, actionable data can be collected, shared, and stored. This data may include picture and video from cell phones, medical information, home security camera footage, vehicle information, and more. 2019 brought pilots with the technology and in 2020 we’ll surely see more.

When will compliance to Kari’s Law be required?

A: February 2020 Kari’s Law was signed in 2018, but 2019 brought awareness and education across the United States. The law requires multi-line telephone systems to be able to directly dial 9-1-1 with no prefixes (like 9), to provide direct routing to 9-1-1, and to provide on-site notification of a 9-1-1 call being made.

How many meters above or below a phone does the FCC recommend for z-axis accuracy?

A: 3 Meters At the end of 2019, the FCC released a report on E911 location accuracy requirements that suggested all z-axis capable headsets should adopt an accuracy metric of plus or minus 3 meters for 80% of wireless E911 calls. We predict that 3D location accuracy will continue to be a goal for 2020.

Which of the following would be a sensor in device-based hybrid location accuracy?

A: All of the above Device-based hybrid location accuracy, or DHL, is the technology utilized to determine a more accurate location for 9-1-1 callers. It combines sensors like GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth beacons, barometric pressure, and more to give telecommunicators a more precise location. It’s the same technology used by rideshare apps.

Which state has reclassified all 9-1-1 telecommunicators as first responders?

A: Texas Texas is currently the only state that requires the licensing of telecommunicators and after the signing of House Bill 1090 by Governor Greg Abbot, it is also the only state to reclassify its telecommunicators as first responders.

In which of the following ways were Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones, utilized for public safety over the past year?

A: All of the above Drones have made a huge impact on public safety, from assisting in 9-1-1 GIS data collection to providing a bird’s eye view during at the scene, and we know this is only the beginning of this versatile technology.