What is Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)?

Emergency services are a mission-critical aspect of telecommunications, with many lives depending on the response time, efficiency, and accessibility of 911 calls. Depending on where business headquarters, locations, and remote workers are based, you may need to deliver 911 calls to up to 5,000 different Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) throughout the U.S., Canada, and other related territories.  

A PSAP is a facility equipped and staffed to receive 911 calls. When a PSAP receives a 911 call — it dispatches the appropriate emergency services, transfers the call to another agency, or handles it according to operating policy. 

​​​​​Why should you care about public safety answering points? 

Businesses rely on telecommunication services for their own specific uses, but all of them must support emergency calling to meet regulatory compliance obligations and ensure the safety of their workforce.  

Anybody needing emergency care must be able to contact emergency responders through your communication platform quickly. 

As public safety adopts video, data, real-time text, and IoT feeds, an NG911-ready network allows you to deliver and interwork NG911 sessions with various next generation core services (NGCS) provider platforms. 

PSAPs can respond to both emergency and non-emergency (but still high priority) calls by dispatching fire services, police, or ambulances to the site of the emergency. With Enhanced 911 (E911) services, PSAPs can even determine the caller’s location and call back number, whether the call is made from a landline, mobile phone, UCaaS solution, or another nomadic telephony service. 

The rise of new technologies have created new types of PSAPs capable of covering varying use cases. These new types of PSAPs include:  

  • Primary PSAPs: Where 911 calls are routed to directly from the 911 Control Office. 
  • Secondary PSAPs: Where 911 calls are transferred from a Primary PSAP, generally to complete the dispatching process for medical services, ambulances, and other first responders. 
  • Alternate PSAPs: Act as a backup to receive emergency calls whenever a Primary PSAP is unable to do so, generally because of an outage or higher than usual call volume at the Primary PSAP. 
  • Consolidated PSAPs: Where multiple public safety agencies work together to function as a single 911 entity. By sharing resources, they can operate more efficiently and respond more quickly to calls. 
  • Next Generation 911 (NG911): A PSAPs which is compatible with the National Emergency Number Association’s i3 specification — a standard providing functional and interface specs for post-transition IP-based multimedia telecommunications systems.  
  • Legacy PSAPs: These are PSAPs who are not i3 compatible and don’t receive IP-based calls. They operate using older technologies like CAMA or ISDN trunking for delivery of emergency calls. 

How does Sinch work with PSAPs? 

All companies operating in the United States must be compliant with current regulations like The Ray Baums Act and Kari’s Law. 

Sinch’s E911 and NG911 solutions make it easy for any company to maintain compliance, reduce liability, and ensure all 911 calls are easily locatable. 

Learn more about how our E911 and NG911 technology is working to improve emergency responses in local communities across North America.