EENA calls for mobile handset location technologies to be used by default in Mobile Emergency Calls

Knowing the exact location of people calling the 112 emergency number is crucial and will save lives. It allows the emergency services to route the calls to the most appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), make quicker interventions and help verify the authenticity of the calls.

Medical research shows that for certain pathologies, a one-minute reduction in the emergency response time improves the odds of survival by 24%.  In fact the East of England Ambulance Service demonstrated that mobile emergency calls took on average 30 seconds longer than fixed line emergency calls to get the address of the incident. In the case of stressed or injured victims, this goes to 3 min.

This document is an update of the previous version published in 2011, and takes into consideration the technological advances that took place since then. It includes an overview of both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ implementation methods in the EU member states, as well as common problems encountered. Moreover, it offers a full analysis of the available technologies and it lists EENA requirements, as well as recommendations to relevant stakeholders for each type of network. The recommendations offered are in the citizens’ best interest and aim to provide a safer and more efficient framework for caller location in support of emergency services.

One of the main authors of the document, Frederic Bruneteau, PTOLEMUS Consulting Group's Managing Director, said:

“Any modern smartphone has an hybrid positioning platform that provides the best-available location depending on the environment and available sensor signals, i.e. GNSS but also Cell-ID, WiFi and MEMS. If a smartphone is used to make an emergency call, that information should be made available to the PSAP.”

The ‘Caller Location in Support of Emergency Services’ Operations document was written in partnership with PTOLEMUS Consulting Group, an EENA member based in Brussels.

To read the document, please click here.

EENA will also shortly publish a related document focusing exclusively on A-GNSS as a caller location technology in Q1 2015.
 

‘Public Safety Answering Points in Europe 2014’ document is out!

EENA is delighted to announce that the 'Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Europe' document, 2014 edition, is now available.

The ‘PSAPs in Europe' document offers an elaborate description of national structures that relate to the functioning of PSAPs. It aims at illustrating the complexity of each national structure, and to provide a clear idea of how the related framework in each respective country works.

Are you interested in emergency call handling systems? Then this publication is for you! How do emergency services work in a country? What technology do they use? What are their plans for the future? These are only some of the many questions answered by this publication.

In addition to the 28 EU countries and Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Moldova, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey this year’s publication provides information on PSAPs organisation in Switzerland and Georgia. As every year, all information has been updated for the countries that were included in the 2013 edition.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our members, without whom this publication would not be possible.

You can download the abstract of the ‘Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Europe 2014’ document here.

UK shows the way towards accurate caller location – An example for others to replicate!

Caller location in case of an emergency is a fundamental element for the protection of citizens in distress. In the UK, with 60% of emergency calls to 112 and 999 made from mobile phones, caller location is often imprecise.

A new service, produced in the UK by BT, EE and HTC, comes to address this problem. Advanced Mobile Location (AML) is up to 4,000 times more accurate than the current system used, saving lives, time, and money.

When an emergency call is made with a smart phone where AML is enabled, the phone automatically activates its location service to establish its position and sends this information via a text message to the 112 and 999 services, with a radius of 30 meters or less. For that, the service uses GPS or wifi – whichever is best at the given instance.

Gary Machado, Executive Director of EENA stated:

“Inadequate caller location information has been an obstacle for emergency services all over Europe for many years. The UK has taken the lead and created an innovative, cost effective solution and EENA congratulates BT, EE and HTC. This exemplar work should be replicated in other European countries and we urge other mobile network operators, handset manufacturers, 112 agencies and regulatory authorities to follow suit as expeditiously as possible”.

EENA is delighted to see such an important development taking place and would like to warmly congratulate John Medland, BT’s 999 Policy Manager, who said:

“This is a major breakthrough and will undoubtedly help save lives. It is obviously vital for the emergency services to get fast, accurate information so they can pinpoint where an incident is and provide help as quickly as possible. AML will help to cut response times, particularly for calls where there is only minimal location information. We’re really looking forward to the other mobile networks and manufacturers making this available too, and are working with all UK mobile networks to help this happen.”

Lastly, we would like to congratulate all involved parties for this great achievement. We hope that this will serve as an example all around Europe showing that better protection of citizens can and should be achieved.

For the official press release of the service, please click here.

EENA Case Study Document released:’Managing Change: The example of Regione Lombardia, Italy’

EENA has released its new publication “Managing Change: The example of Regione Lombardia, Italy”.

“Case Study Documents”, a new type of EENA publications, are conceived as a useful tool for interested stakeholders who can benefit from gaining insight from existing practices.

The purpose of this publication is to provide national and/or regional authorities with a better understanding of the process of migration from a system where emergency calls to emergency services are responded independently to a system where one organisation responds to all of them, a stage 1 PSAP.

The analysis is based on such a migration in the region of Lombardy, Italy. The document provides the project’s history as well as implementation data. Moreover, it offers some of the pros and cons of such a migration.

EENA would like to thank the authors of this document, Mr. Piero Maria Brambilla (AREU, Italy) and Mr. Luca Roberto Bergonzi (Beta 80 Group, Italy), without whom this publication would not be possible.

To read the document, please click here.

EENA Operations document on ‘eCall’ updated

Traffic incidents are one of the major causes of deaths and injuries in Europe. A timely and efficient intervention by the emergency services is crucial to save lives and reduce human suffering.

In many cases, passengers of a vehicle involved in an incident are unable to contact emergency services. Moreover, if they do so, it is often difficult for them to provide an exact location or communicate efficiently in a foreign language whilst they are travelling abroad.

eCall will address these problems by automatically sending a notification to emergency services in case of an incident, establishing a voice channel between passengers and emergency services, and allowing vehicle passengers to manually alert emergency services of other emergencies in or around the vehicles, such as traffic incidents that do not meet the threshold of the automated notification.

The objective of this Operations document is to update the previously published eCall document with the most recent developments and to provide the most up-to-assessment of the issue. As in all EENA Operations documents, recommendations and requirements are detailed.

EENA would like to thank all the contributors for their time and expertise in putting this together, and more specifically:

  • Mr. Luca Bergonzi (Beta80 Group)
  • Ms. Cathy Bishop (OnStar)
  • Ms. Ann Maher (OnStar)
  • Mr. Russell Moseley (Voltdelta)
  • Mr. Gorazd Novak (Iskratel)
  • Mr. Risto Öörni  (VTT Finland)
  • Mr. Andy Rooke (ERTICO)
  • Mr. Thom Verlinden (National Police, NL)

To read the eCall Operations document please click here.

ESENet final workshop: Looking forward

Efficient communication during rescue operations and emergency management is significant, especially when thinking of the cost: delays or misunderstandings can lead to the loss of human lives.

Emergency Services Europe Network (ESENet) aimed at establishing a network of stakeholders in the Emergency Management domain in order to identify, discuss and agree on needs, requirements, new technologies and best practices in responding to everyday as well as to major emergencies.

The ESENet project final workshop took place on 14-16 October 2014. It served as an opportunity for summarising the results of three cycles of discussion and revising the list of recommendations identified by the experts and included in the final report.

During the three day workshop, participants from around Europe discussed topics related to emergency services including caller information, transnational calls, methods of interaction with emergency services, next generation techniques and services, and much more…

We would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions!

Looking for more information on the ESENet project? You can visit its twitter and facebook.

The project is funded under the FP7 Security programme.

Hearings of the new European Commission in the European Parliament: eCall and 112 on the agenda

EU – EENA is encouraged that the topics of the European Emergency Number 112 and eCall were raised by the European Parliament during the Hearings of the European Commission candidates (EP Hearings 2014), and welcomes the initiative of the European Parliament to address these important issues.

Mrs. Elzbieta Bienkowska, candidate Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, was asked to give her opinion on eCall and its significance. She confirmed her support and willingness to advance on eCall. It was acknowledged that eCall is a tool that can save many lives in the EU and that is should be prioritised by the new European Commission.

Mr. Andrus Ansip, candidate Vice-President of the Commission for the Digital Single Market, was asked to confirm his willingness to progress on the problematic implementation of the Universal Service Directive, the caller location requirements of Member States in case of emergency calls, and the awareness levels of the common European emergency number 112 among European citizens, with a mere 27% being aware of it.

While the question referred to the European emergency number, Mr. Ansip paid attention on eCall instead, supporting eCall systems as a priority.

Even though eCall represents a significant topic, EENA was disappointed that not enough emphasis was given on 112 and the Universal Service Directive. We would like to see clear next steps as to how the abovementioned problematic implementation of the Universal Service Directive is going to be dealt with by the new European Commission.

Overall, we welcome the fact that the European Parliament addressed the issues of 112 and eCall as important. Nevertheless, although the support of the new European Commission is encouraging, EENA would like to see concrete steps of action in order to advance on these issues.

For the hearing of candidate Commissioner Mrs. Elzbieta Bienkowska, please click here.

For the hearing of candidate Vice-President Mr. Andrus Ansip, please click here.

More than 1000 EENA Members from over 70 countries now connected through EENA networking tool!

EENA is delighted to announce that EENA Members App, our Members’ brand new networking tool, is up and running.

More than 1,000 EENA members from over 70 countries, including emergency services' and public authorities' staff from all over the world, as well as researchers and industry representatives, can now communicate with each other easier than ever.

EENA Members App constitutes an online platform, where all EENA Members can network and communicate directly. Each of them has his/her own profile, while corporate members have dedicated virtual booths where they can showcase their products and services. The platform is accessible from PC-based web browsers, and soon from mobile devices (iOS, Android, etc).

We wish to all our Members a great online experience!

 

EENA’s response on ECC Public Consultation and Draft Report on Caller Location in support of Emergency Services

EENA would like to welcome the public consultation on the ECC Draft Report 225 and is delighted that the issue of caller location is being addressed.

EENA completely agrees with the conclusion that “A-GNSS should be implemented as a caller location technique in addition to the existing network based methods”. We are very much in favour of the deployment of A-GNSS for caller location, a beneficial development for citizens’ safety  and emergency services’ work. For this reason, we would like to see clear steps being provided by the Final Report towards the implementation of A-GNSS as a caller location technique.

We would like to highlight the conclusion of the Draft Report, which states that “statistical background material” needs to be produced before accuracy and reliability targets can be set. EENA trusts that the added value of such statistical information would be limited. Nevertheless, even if the need for these statistics is established, we strongly believe that a list of indicators used for this purpose needs to be clearly defined.

Overall, we would like to welcome the Draft Report. We are very much encouraged to see that an issue as significant as caller location, which can have a direct positive impact on EU citizens, is being addressed. EENA remains available to assist whenever necessary.

For EENA’s response to the ECC Consultation and Draft Report 225, please click here.

For the ECC Draft Report 225 on "Establishing Criteria for the Accuracy and Reliability of Caller Location Information in support of Emergency Services" please click here.

European Public Safety community gives cautious welcome to report on the future use of the UHF band in Europe

EU – The European public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) community has given a cautious welcome to the recommendations in the High Level Group (HLG) report made to the European Commission on the future use of the 470-790 MHz UHF band.

The PPDR community concurs with the report’s finding that the reallocation of the 700 MHz band for mobile services throughout the EU is the desirable way forward. This will ensure capacity for mobile broadband services in the light of steadily rising demand, while serving Europe's broadband coverage targets and delivering the benefits of global economies of scale.  These mobile services include the PPDR broadband services that are critical to ensuring the safety of the public.

Although PPDR services are not referenced anywhere in the report, the requirements of the European PPDR community have been clearly stated elsewhere, including through the EU Council’s Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP), working jointly with the spectrum regulator community (CEPT-ECC). The conclusion, in ECC Report 199, is that a minimum of 2 x 10 MHz spectrum is required for critical mobile broadband data services.

The harmonisation of frequency spectrum for PPDR is a declared policy objective of the European Union and the only place where that will be possible the next 20 years is within the 700 MHz band.  The vast majority of government officials dealing with public safety matters in the EU see use of the 700MHz band as the best way to achieve this. The LEWP position paper, from the LEWP Greece presidency, clearly indicates the unanimously agreed preference by all member states for the 700MHz band.

HLG chairman Pascal Lamy states in his report: “I believe there is already one lesson learned on the future use of the 700 MHz band in Europe – this process has been influenced by developments outside Europe, namely the emergence of a globally significant band plan from stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region as well as a concerted effort of some African and Middle Eastern states at WRC-12 to obtain the co-primary allocation of this band to the mobile service in the whole ITU Region 1. It can hardly be imagined that Europe would agree on an alternative long-term option for the 700 MHz band, which would be more beneficial for its digital economy and society, other than adopting mobile usage in line with the aforementioned band plan.”

Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and the US have already allocated dedicated spectrum for PPDR at 700 MHz.  A united community within the field of public safety and emergency services is key to ensuring the future safety of frontline officers. This can only be done by allocating spectrum for PPDR in Europe within the 700 MHz band.

The business case for PPDR spectrum is strong. London School of Economics analysis of the use of mission critical broadband by emergency services has estimated a substantially better socioeconomic benefit for this purpose than if the 2x10MHz in the 700MHz band are auctioned for commercial use. The socioeconomic benefit is estimated to be more than €20 billion p.a., relating to 60 per cent of the European population across 10 selected countries representing three regions. This figure is higher if it is extrapolated to cover the EU28 figure of 500 million people, yielding a socioeconomic benefit of €34.94 billion p.a. This analysis and other supporting information can be found here.

Notes to Editors:

The High Level Group (HLG) on the future use of the UHF band (470-790 MHz) was convened at the end of 2013 by the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes. It comprised 19 executive-level representatives from the mobile and broadcasting sectors, including the PMSE sector, under the chairmanship of Pascal Lamy.  The overarching objective laid down in the mandate of the Group was to deliver strategic advice to the Commission for the development of a European strategy on the future use of the UHF band. The report can be found here.

Supporting quotes:

TCCA Chairman Phil Godfrey said:

“Available and harmonised UHF frequencies for the emergency services across Europe is a prerequisite for the effective functioning of this vital sector, not only nationally but also cross-borders. Disasters, man-made or natural, do not confine themselves to convenient geographic regions.”

The TCCA represents TETRA, the most successful mission critical communications voice and narrowband data mobile standard in the world. For critical broadband data communications, the TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group (CCBG) is driving the development of common global mobile standards and solutions for all users who operate in a mission critical or business critical environment. For more information please visit www.tandcca.com

Contact: editor@tandcca.com

Tel: + 44 (0) 77 66 33 32 77

PSC-Europe President Harold Linke said:

“Secured and reliable communication is the most important tool that emergency services need when they are on mission serving the European citizens. In the PSCE Forum PPDR users for several years express their need for European wide harmonised UHF frequencies to allow a better cooperation between the services of all EU Member States. The 700 MHz band under discussion will be the only chance (in the next 20 years) – for a whole generation – to accomplish this. We should not forget that all European Citizens count on the effectiveness of their emergency services when the next disaster strikes.”

Public Safety Communication Europe Forum (PSCE) is a permanent autonomous organisation aimed at improving the provision of public safety communications and information management systems and the safety of the citizens during crisis and emergency situations. PSCE provides a unique common platform for researchers, industry and users enabling regular exchange of ideas, information, experiences and best practices. For more information, please visit www.psc-europe.eu

Email: secretariat@psc-europe.eu

Tel: + 32 (0) 2 738 07 63

FEU President Dieter Nuessler said:

“Sadly enough we have always experienced that in major disasters – whether man made or natural ones – the lack of appropriate communication means and incomplete interoperability between PPDR has resulted in less efficient response than expected by the public.

“Official reactions from stakeholders outside the PPDR community are always the same: “ If we had known that you would need that, we would have given you the resources you want. In the light of that event we will reconsider …….” After a while all this was always forgotten – but came up again after the next disaster / hurricane / flooding / earthquake / terrorist attack…..

“Without state-of-the-art mission critical communications we will not meet the challenges of future major disastrous events.  The population will have to pay the toll if government policy neglects the needs of those organisations dedicated to helping people in distress.”

FEU (Federation of the European Union Fire Officer Associations) is a non-for-profit organisation, currently comprising 22 members of 21 EU-countries and Norway. Delegates are professional fire chiefs. The principal aim of FEU is to enhance fire safety and provide expertise to European bodies in matters concerning the development of fire brigades and fire safety in Europe. For more information please visit www.f-e-u.org

 

British APCO President Sue Lampard said:

“The PPDR community is arguably already at the point where data (as well as voice) is deemed ‘mission critical’. This requirement will only grow over the next few years, and additional spectrum will be needed to support that growth.

“The 700MHz bandwidth is ideal for PPDR needs in terms of coverage over large areas and in-buildings. Release of 2 X 10 MHz will provide additional capacity required. Additionally, the opportunity for harmonization to allow cross-border interoperability should not be missed.”    

British APCO provides a forum for professionals in the field of public safety and civil contingencies communications and information technology to exchange information, ideas and experiences. British APCO is affiliated to the APCO Global Alliance which includes similar organisations representing public safety users in the USA, Canada and Australasia.
For further information please visit www.bapco.org.uk

EENA Deputy Executive Director Tony O'Brien said:

"The arguments for allocating dedicated spectrum to the PPDR community are compelling and now is the time to make the necessary policy decision. The PPDR community and the citizens they serve need to have the necessary infrastructural tools to react more effectively and efficiently. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss."

EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout the EU. EENA serves as a discussion platform for emergency services, public authorities, decision makers, researchers, associations and solution providers with a view to improving the emergency response in accordance with citizens' requirements. EENA is also promoting the establishment of an efficient system for alerting citizens about imminent or developing emergencies. For more information please visit www.eena.org