Dispatch Communications and 1st Responder Safety

Knowledge about risky places can be used by dispatch and communications professionals to assess and manage personal injury risks to first responders at any address throughout a jurisdiction.

Make real-time risk assessments on a call-by-call basis to optimize resources and reduce ‘alert fatigue’. In this way, Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) can help police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel better anticipate their risk terrains and respond accordingly to improve personal safety. RTM also empowers telecommunicators with insights to help them direct safer encounters between public safety professionals and the constituents they serve.

To mitigate risk, spatial intel from RTM can be used tactically to direct operations when responding to calls-for-service (CFS) at the highest-risk places within a jurisdiction. Here’s how that could happen:

  1. Use RTMDx software to analyze current data on crime events that pose risks to first responders and the public, such as shootings, aggravated assaults, or robberies with a weapon.
  2. Use the risk terrain maps to identify high-risk places.
  3. Based on this intel, develop protocols/procedures for personnel when responding to any type of call for service originating from these places.
  4. Share risk terrain maps or otherwise notify dispatchers about these risky places and the new procedures for officer response.
  5. When a call for service originates in a high-risk area, first responders get dispatched according to the new “situational awareness” protocol.

For example, a normally ‘low-risk’ call type such as “trespassing” that has a response address located in a high-risk area gets the protocol applied (e.g., perhaps two officers are automatically dispatched instead of one; maybe they coordinate their response directions en route to gain multiple visual perspectives upon arrival). For fire or EMS calls, addresses located in high-risk areas for arson or aggravated assaults could get a police officer automatically dispatched alongside the fire or EMS units, even when the call type would otherwise be considered “low-risk”.

Place-based factors can aggravate situational risks. RTM lets you anticipate these risks and prepare for them to enhance safety and reduce harm.

Read more about this and see related research supporting it at the “Officer Safety and Differential Dispatch” blog post.

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