Connecting state and local government leaders

The Internet of Things Bolsters New Orleans’ Emergency Dispatch System

New Orleans' French Quarter post-Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

New Orleans' French Quarter post-Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Frontpage /


Connecting state and local government leaders

Agency data streams used to be disparate, but now they’re on the same interface.

New Orleans’ integrated call control dispatch system exemplifies how cities are capitalizing on the Internet of Things to protect emergency personnel while streamlining their service.

The Big Easy’s nearly 370,000 residents and millions of visitors rely on timely 911 response—collectively making more than 1 million calls a year—so the city partnered with Microsoft and Motorola Solutions to improve communications among dispatchers and first responders.

Police, fire, emergency medical services, 911 call system, and stored previous incident history data streams have all been merged into a single display.

“Dispatchers have a bird’s eye view of emergency responses across the city,” says Stephen Gordon, Orleans Parish Communication District executive director, in this YouTube video . “They know where crews and equipment are on the scene and which ones are ready to roll.”

The system automatically routes incident reports to the closest responders and provides real-time updates—pushing data to personnel on EMS tablets and mobile police terminals.

Personnel has already seen crucial reductions in response time.

“With one touch, officers can indicate if the scene is safe, or if they need immediate help,” said Karl Fasold, OPCD system administrator, in a statement . “While you’re on the phone to a 911 operator describing the guy breaking into your car, the call has already gone out to nearby police units with your location and other details, including your own real-time observation and history with prior incidents.”

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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