Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Individual Interests Need to Support Inclusive Emergency ICT

Here is an exchange today between me and my valued colleague Sheri Ann Farinha, a leading activist for access by deaf and hard of hearing people to the emergency response system. She had circulated the announcement of the new Advanced Emergency Communications Coalition (AECC) on the ListServ “E911 for Deaf and Hard of Hearing”. I commented on why the members of her group should support the broader emergency response ICT agenda represented by AECC, COMCARE’s advocacy successor. I repeat it here because the thoughts apply far beyond the needs of this particular group. Like all email chains, it is in reverse order.

David Aylward

Farinha: Agree with you David, time to work with others and think outside the box to help us find solutions which may or may not be solutions everyone else is needing as well. Esp with the discussion abt the recent independent rate ctrs, smile. Rob said he would be sending me a revised membership form which I will be sure to share with all here once I get it. Thanks for including us with this new network!

De, por, e para, as pessoas!


Aylward: I hope all the members of this group will also join the Advanced Emergency Communications Coalition (AECC). This is the successor to COMCARE in advocating for all hazards, all emergency domains, interoperable, modern emergency information and communications systems.

COMCARE had devoted attention to both advocacy and efforts to cause specific implementation of our ideas. We have turned over the advocacy to AECC, and will be focusing on the latter: getting Next Generation architecture deployed.

Why do you care when the advocacy is for broader solutions, not just solutions for the deaf and hard of hearing? Because getting where you want to go is very expensive and very slow --the upgrades are only for you, a relatively small percentage of the population, rather than being mainstream. Similarly, the Brain Injury prevention and similar people who care about car crashes, getting that data into the emergency response system, and enriching it with expert protocols, have been frustrated for years. There just aren't enough car crashes to force 9-1-1, EMS and the rest to upgrade to take data in from the outside. Suicide prevention folks? Same thing. And the list goes on.

But if you look at the emergency response system wholistically, persons with disabilities need the same "architecture" and essentially functions as these other uses. A couple of years ago, after detailed conversations with groups such as this, COMCARE held a terrific workshop we called "Common Requirements: Common Solutions" on exactly this topic.

If we are all pulling for the same basic system, we are far more likely to get it, for a lot less. NENA has been very supportive of this approach in its Next Generation policy and technical work.

So join AECC, join with the car crash and other folks, and advocate for common solutions! Rob Martin runs the new group and is a great guy.


Farinha: Dear E9-1-1 Stakeholder Council,

Wish to make you aware of this exciting new Coalition which this Council was asked to have a representative on and attend its first meeting last Wednesday.

Unfortunately there wasn’t an interpreter available at the last minute for me to attend while I was in DC. The information below explains its mission, who, and further information. It’s membership list is being developed, and a press release will soon be going out. Will keep you all posted on new information shared with this network. Patrick Halley/NENA and David Aylward/COMCARE here (who I believe are whom asked for this Council to be

added) are also members of this new Coalition and may have more to add should anyone have questions. :)


Advanced Emergency Communications Coalition <>


To advocate for the adaption and improvement of advanced emergency communications technologies. WHO WE ARE:

We are an international advocacy organization to promote cohesive and collaborative approaches to improve “end-to-end” emergency communications services and advance public policy and awareness. We encourage the development and availability of potentially lifesaving services, procedures, training, and tools that maximize safety and value for emergency responders and healthcare providers.


Advocating for the improvement of emergency communications services is critical now and in the years ahead as multifaceted, compound issues and choices are being made regarding transitioning all emergency communications services to a new IP-based infrastructure. Global coordination efforts are developing rapidly and all stakeholders need to not only be aware of these efforts, but involved.

By combining the widely diverse membership of more than 100 organizations connected with the COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance, together with other interested stakeholders, the Advanced Emergency Communications Coalition was organized in early 2009 to carry forward COMCARE’s vision of encouraging cooperation across professional, jurisdictional and geographic lines through collaboration with government, the emergency response professions, the public, and private industry.

Coalition members have a strong interest in improving the environment of emergency response and applying modern “next generation” technologies.

Membership includes many leading non-profit organizations, corporations, agencies, and individuals in numerous interconnected industries that impact emergency communications and response. These include, but are not limited

to: telecommunications, emergency management, public safety, first responders, social services, healthcare and medicine, transportation, telematics, government, academia, as well as other groups that have a vested interest in making our communities safer and more secure through the promotion of advanced emergency communications networks and services.