Ford rolled out 911 Assist, an addition to the award-winning SYNC in-vehicle communications system, with the full support of one of the nation’s leading emergency service associations, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
“Ford Motor Company is excited to partner with NENA to improve the delivery of critically important emergency services,” said Doug VanDagens, Ford director of Connected Services Solutions. “We believe it was important to work with such an organization to ensure that emergency personnel across the country learn what to expect from 911 Assist as well as to design the system to serve them more effectively.”
An accident-assistance feature, 911 Assist is a game-changer in the industry because it’s a nonsubscription-based feature available to all SYNC-equipped vehicle owners. In the event of an accident involving the activation of an airbag or the emergency fuel cutoff, 911 Assist helps vehicle occupants in placing a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator.
NENA, widely regarded as a leading voice of the 911 community with more than 7,000 members and 47 chapters, has applauded Ford’s efforts to help educate emergency operators across North America on the 911 Assist feature.
“Ford’s 911 Assist clearly aligns with NENA’s goal to improve access to 911,” said Brian Fontes, NENA’s CEO. “This initiative is an excellent example of how private industry and public safety can partner to enhance access to 911 in times of need.”
Ford and NENA teamed up on an extensive education and training program to introduce the emergency communications community to 911 Assist, reaching out to Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) operators throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Ford also produced materials in cooperation with NENA that detail 911 Assist specifics and provide guidelines for how 911 operators can best handle the direct calls because the feature does not require the typical third-party call center associated with similar in-vehicle emergency services.
“Ford sought NENA’s input early in the design of 911 Assist, and we are pleased to participate and support Ford,” said Fontes of the collaboration. “We particularly appreciate Ford’s commitment to help educate those who answer 911 calls about Ford’s new 911 Assist offering.”
911 Assist defined
911 Assist is designed to assist occupants to place a call to a local 911 emergency operator should an accident occur that activates an airbag or the emergency fuel cutoff. The accident assistance feature was high on customer want lists, further supporting the company’s strategy to offer the service to all current and future SYNC owners with no monthly fees.
“We’re committed to leveraging SYNC for enhancing the Ford customer’s ownership experience,” VanDagens added. “911 Assist is a great addition to SYNC, and with the system’s platform approach, we have the capability to add even more great features that are sure to resonate with our customers.”
911 Assist is active when a phone is properly Bluetooth®-paired, turned on and connected to SYNC. Before initiating the emergency 911 call, SYNC provides a 10-second window to allow the driver or passenger to decide whether to cancel the call. If not manually canceled within the 10-second window, SYNC will place the emergency call. A brief prerecorded message will play when the call is answered, and occupants in the vehicle will then be able to talk directly with the 911 operator.
Once the call is connected, 911 operators can respond to the situation exactly as they would with any 911 call. Emergency services can determine the medical priority and dispatch the appropriate assistance based on the situation. The wireless phone service involved can provide location information as required by federal law, which may be used to help locate the vehicle, if occupants are nonresponsive, for example.
In addition to working with NENA, Ford continues to seek out input from and educate other emergency response organizations as it explores new functionality for future versions of 911 Assist.
Ford SYNC, developed with Microsoft, is an advanced software platform that provides consumers the convenience and flexibility to bring digital media players – Apple iPods and other MP3 players – and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones into their vehicles and operate the devices via voice commands or with the steering wheel’s redundant radio controls.
Ford’s game-changing vehicle connectivity model and affordability have helped make SYNC one of the widest technology introductions in the industry.
SYNC-equipped Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles sell nearly twice as fast as those without, and a Ford survey of SYNC customers showed nearly 80 percent of respondents “definitely would” recommend it to a friend.
Since the introduction of SYNC in the 2008 Ford Focus, Ford quickly has integrated the technology. Ford has installed SYNC on more than 2 million vehicles as of March 2010.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 163,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
NENA is The Voice of 9-1-1™. NENA promotes implementation and awareness of 9-1-1 as North America’s universal emergency number. NENA is the leading professional non-profit organization dedicated solely to 9-1-1 emergency communications issues. NENA serves its nearly 7,000 members in 48 chapters across the U.S., Canada and Mexico through policy advocacy, establishment of technical and operational standards, certification programs and a broad spectrum of educational offerings. Find out more at www.nena.org.
April 6, 2009