Six Ways Cloud Solutions are Helping Public Safety Agencies Reduce Costs
By Daniel Limon, Chief of Staff, Carbyne
Four Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Six – that’s the estimated number of 9-1-1 calls that will have been made during the time it takes you to read this article. Handling roughly a quarter-billion 9-1-1 calls annually is no small feat, and this responsibility falls on the broad shoulders of the roughly 6,000 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) spread across 3,000+ counties nationwide. And while our worst days represent the everyday of the heroes under the headset, their path to our rescue is paved with innumerable challenges, some of which include:
- Locating callers in distress in minimal time.
- Dispatching the right resources to the field efficiently.
- Managing technology maintenance and overhead costs.
- Servicing a constant stream of records requests as required by law.
- Translating calls when callers and call-takers don’t speak the same language.
- Boosting employee retention during industry-wide staffing shortages.
How have some of the best-in-class PSAPs managed to overcome these obstacles? To answer this question, we have to look up – to the cloud. While cloud-computing technologies have revolutionized industries from medicine to air travel, public safety leaders are accelerating the pace in which they are adopting cloud-native technologies to deliver transformational results and saving over a quarter-million dollars a year. This number is comprised of the following average annual savings per PSAP:
- $50,000 from locating callers faster.
- $60,000 from dispatching the right resources to the field.
- $60,000 from reducing technology maintenance costs.
- $7,000 from streamlining records requests.
- $60,000 from translating calls in real-time.
- $40,000 from boosting employee well-being leading to higher retention.
CALLER LOCATION TIME SAVINGS
The average PSAP handles roughly 41,000 9-1-1 calls during any twelve-month period. For each call, their standard operating procedures require the call-taker to first determine the location of the emergency. With traditional systems, the time to locate the caller can take five minutes or more. With modern cloud-native emergency call handling solutions, this time is reduced to one minute or less, thus saving 4+ minutes per call. This results in 164,000+ minutes saved annually, or 2,700+ hours, translating into annual cost savings of $50,000+ per PSAP modeling a typical PSAP rank-and-file wage.
DISPATCH EFFICIENCY SAVINGS
Assuming the call-taker is successfully able to determine the exact location of the emergency, one of their top priorities is sending aid to the caller. Typically the majority (60%) of a typical PSAP’s 41,000 annual 9-1-1 calls result in dispatch of units to the scene out of an abundance of caution. Using cloud-native technologies such as live video, pinpoint caller location, silent instant messaging, and more, best-in-class PSAPs are able to reduce dispatching by another 12%. Applying average excess dispatch costs, this results in roughly $60,000 in annual savings for the PSAP.
TECHNOLOGY MAINTENANCE SAVINGS
The systems used to handle 9-1-1 calls are typically purchased in multi-year cycles by PSAPs, costing potentially millions of dollars at a time with annual technology maintenance contracts costing $80,000 or more per year. Best-in-class PSAPs are well aware of this cost-creep and opt for cloud-native technologies where technology maintenance is included at little to no extra cost. This results in potentially 75% savings on $80,000 annual maintenance contracts, saving these PSAPs $60,000 or more on an annual basis.
RECORDS REQUESTS SAVINGS
In addition to handling 9-1-1 calls and dealing with all the above challenges, PSAPs also have the unenviable task of servicing a continuous stream of records requests on a daily basis. This has led some PSAPs that are slapped with up to 400 monthly records requests to dedicate one or more full-time staff to serve these records requests as required by law, extracting and cobbling together the necessary records from multiple incompatible and disparate systems. Assuming a ten-minute service time for each record request, this results in over 65 hours a month spent by the typical PSAP. Smart PSAPs turn to cloud-native solutions with integrated records management systems that can cut this time in half. Modeling the typical PSAP rank-and-file wage, savings of 30 hours a month translate into annual savings of roughly $7,000 per year from streamlining records requests.
LANGUAGE TRANSLATION SAVINGS
Although the majority of incoming 9-1-1 calls are by English-speaking callers, estimates suggest roughly 8% of callers don’t speak English. For a mid-to-large PSAP handling 48,000 calls annually, this translates into roughly 4,000 calls per year. It is important to note that this number will vary greatly depending on the location of the PSAP. Engaging language translators for five minutes per call results in 20,000 minutes per year. At a cost of $3 per minute translated, this results in $60,000 annually. Cloud-native emergency call handling solutions with translation capabilities are starting to come on the market.
EMPLOYEE RETENTION SAVINGS
While saving lives on a daily basis is a tremendous source of inspiration in itself, it also involves extreme stress resulting from daily exposure to emergency situations day-in and day-out. As a result of the burnout caused by such chronic stress, PSAPs suffer from excessive employee turnover which adds to the acute staffing challenges the industry has been plagued with for several years. Research which has attempted to quantify the impact of replacing an employee suggests it costs roughly $39,600 taking into account decreased productivity during onboarding, temp worker costs, interview time, recruitment fees, and various other costs. Best-in-class PSAPs can to a certain extent overcome this challenge by deploying cloud-native solutions which feature significantly improved user interfaces, reducing cognitive overload, and can often reduce employee turnover by one or more employees per year. Newer cloud native solutions typically come with better and more intuitive user interfaces, which are expected by the younger generation entering the workforce. Assuming one employee a year can be retained by improving these systems translates into $40,000 in annual savings.
Best-in-class PSAPs across the country have been taking advantage of the above six sizable sources of savings afforded by switching to cloud-native emergency call handling solutions, delivering a truly remarkable $250,000 in annual savings per PSAP. Needless to say, PSAPs exist to save lives and technology is here to help them succeed. But as is often the case, pursuing operational excellence by using technology has positive cost saving implications.
If you are interested in learning more, you can schedule time with a Carbyne expert today!