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Industry Research : Staffing and Technology Challenges Continue to Plague Emergency Call Centers and Communities

 

#contactcenterworld, @carbyne911

Emergency communications centers (ECCs) across North America are plagued by serious staffing and technological challenges, according to the second annual Pulse of 9-1-1 State of the Industry Survey published today by Carbyne, a global provider in cloud-native emergency call management, and NENA: The 9-1-1 Association, a non-profit professional organization solely focused on 9-1-1 operations, technology, education, and policy issues.

The 2024 survey casts a spotlight on the pressing issues of staffing shortages, technological gaps, and the wellness and mental health of ECC personnel.

Despite high stress and staffing challenges, an overwhelming 87% of respondents said they "love" or "like" their jobs. However, the data points to some stark realities: 75% of ECCs lack the budget to augment their workforce, and even those with available funds face substantial hurdles in recruitment and retention. Alarmingly, 82% of centers with the means to hire are encountering difficulties in filling vacancies, and 50% of the trainees do not survive the probation period.

The staffing crisis is compounded by the fact that nearly all (99.2%) respondents report that their centers take calls from both administrative lines (10-digit or 3-1-1) and emergency lines (9-1-1), and between 60% and 75% of their total call volume comes from such calls.

The data further highlights the disproportionate issues faced by women in the field, who make up the majority of the workforce and experience higher levels of stress and less representation in senior roles. Respondents have adopted a wide range of coping strategies to deal with their stressful roles, from negative tactics such as excessive drinking, self-isolation, and escapism to more positive strategies such as engaging in hobbies, exercise, prayer, and time with family or pets.

"There is an undeniable strain on the people who are the first first responders in public safety, the human voice on the line in a time of crisis," said Brian Fontes, CEO of NENA. "Severe staffing challenges are continuing in 9-1-1, from difficulties in hiring new personnel to problems with employee retention and a mature workforce that shows signs of stress and burnout."

In addition, outdated technology continues to be an issue throughout ECCs nationwide. More than three-quarters of centers experienced outages that prevented them from receiving 9-1-1 calls. Only 24% of ECCs can accept incident imagery, such as live video. Those using incident imagery (64% vs 48%) believe it can reduce stress by providing a more accurate picture of what is happening. And despite the widespread adoption of WhatsApp or other instant text messaging services, fewer than 27% of ECCs are able to communicate over those channels.

Amir Elichai, CEO of Carbyne, remarked, "The overwhelming response to the Pulse Survey reveals the critical state of the 9-1-1 industry. We can and must do better. This invaluable data paints a clear picture of the key challenges in 9-1-1 and the areas needing immediate attention to ensure the resilience and efficiency of emergency communications."

Methodology
Building on the foundational 2023 survey, this year's effort probed deeper into the challenges and opportunities in the ECC landscape across North America. The 2024 survey garnered an impressive 36% increase in participation, with 1,335 responses highlighting shifts in staffing, technology, training, mental health, and diversity. This surge in engagement underscores the community's commitment to addressing the critical issues facing ECCs today. The 52-question survey, coupled with a live online event on April 11, comes at the start of National 9-1-1 Education Month (April) and National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 14-20). The survey received responses from 9-1-1 telecommunicators, dispatchers, supervisors, IT managers, and leaders across the United States.

#contactcenterworld, @carbyne911

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: https://www.prnewswire.com

 


About Carbyne:
Company Logo911 PSAP, real-time data aggregation, presentation and analytics. Pinpoint location, live video, chat, snapshot. No APP required. Major Deployment North and Central America, Asia Pacific
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