“It could potentially help save lives”: MUSCOM to start video streaming 911 calls

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:10 PM CST
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MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) - The Muscatine County Joint Communications Center, also known as MUSCOM, announced the launch of Prepared Live, an improvement to the dispatch center, that will allow video streaming from 911 callers.

Prepared Live is built by the company Prepared, and the software will allow MUSCOM’s 911 dispatch center to live stream, receive multimedia, and receive location from mobile callers in real-time, stated a media release from Muscatine County Emergency Management. The video streaming capability is similar to Facetime.

According to the media release, the addition of Prepared Live in MUSCOM’s technology suite will significantly improve the ability to effectively respond to emergencies and the community.

MUSCOM officials say participation in video streaming during a call is completely voluntary and consent of the caller is required. If the caller consents, they will receive a live stream link via text from the dispatcher, enabling them to active live video upon clicking to activate the link. Callers can also upload photos, text the dispatcher, and make their phone appear to be off so a potential perpetrator may not know you care on the phone with 911.

MUSCOM officials also urge that it is important to note that the video call function will not provide MUSCOM with access to the contents or settings of a caller’s phone.

“The ability for our Public Safety Dispatchers to view live streaming from 911 callers will give our first responders a better understanding of exactly what type of situations they will be entering. We hope that this will enhance officer safety and give them more accurate information before they arrive on scene,” said Chris Jasper, Director of Emergency Management and 911 for Muscatine County.

“If you have a domestic situation where you have a couple who are fighting they might be able to show you exactly what’s going on whether they are trapped in a room or whatever might be happening,” said Ben Sharpe, an emergency telecommunicator with MUSCOM, “I think it can only help. It puts us right on the scene with a caller so we will be able to see exactly what’s going on and we can get that information to the officers so it could potentially save lives on scene and keep the officers safe as well.”

The launch follows three weeks of preparation and training to ensure that MUSCOM’s dispatchers and the rest of the team is able to properly utilize the software, stated the media release. Working side-by-side with Prepared’s customer success team, we have created and adopted policies to ensure that Prepared Live is used effectively in various scenarios.

To learn more about Prepared and Prepared Live, visit https://www.prepared911.com/.