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Created: October 18, 2002.
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ComCARE Alliance Publishes XML-Based Emergency Incident Data Set Recommendation.

An announcement from the ComCARE Alliance (Communications for Coordinated Assistance and Response to Emergencies) reports on the completion of a recommended data set for electronic emergency incident data. The draft vehicular emergency incident data set recommendation was produced by the ComCARE Alliance Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) Data Set Working Group. The data set is designed to enable the electronic flow of emergency information from telematics service providers to multiple public safety agencies, hospitals, transportation agencies, and EMTs dispatched to the incident scene. "More than 20 organizations participated in the development effort, including safety leaders of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Initiative, OnStar, ATX Technologies, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the National Association of State EMS Directors, the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), and others. The participation and leadership of OnStar and ATX represents more than 95 percent of the existing telematics market. The ComCARE Working Group will now present the data set to numerous other safety and medical organizations, government, companies, and standards development organizations that may be interested in the topic. The Working Group plans to work with these groups to get their input and endorsement of the data set and begin discussing implementation. Once implemented by users, the data set will enable efficient, national electronic transmission of crash and other emergency information from telematics service providers, as well as other data from emergency response agency and private sources related to vehicular emergencies."

From the Overview:

The ACN Data Set Working Group was formed specifically to address this need and has completed the final draft recommendation for this data set in XML format. It is a recommended data exchange format. It is not a data transmission protocol/standard. How TSPs decide to send data, and how agencies collect data, transmit data, link it to voice, handle it within their various agencies, etc. are all critical issues, but not ones that were addressed in this effort. However, this common data set will enable multiple methods of data transfer and handling.

The first phase of the [ACN committee] process focused on developing a comprehensive list of data elements for the data set. The group formally published the initial list of data elements for comment and incorporated such comments into an XML DTD (document type definition) file. The XML DTD was a list of all elements within the data set, but it did not indicate specific formats and units of measurement that are required for each element. The next phase of the working group was to define specific data formats and relationships among the elements and move the document from a dtd file to an XML schema.

ACN Data Set Working Group formed three subcommittees to address particular sections of the data set: (1) Incident Data Subcommittee --This group addressed general incident information, such as latitude and longitude, source information, and public safety agency information. (2) Vehicle Data Subcommittee -- This group addressed vehicle data of all types, including commercial vehicles, such as vehicle type, license number, airbag data, seatbelt data, etc. (3) Medical and Crash Data Subcommittee- This group addressed the medical and crash data elements of the data set, such as occupant breathing, occupant age, delta velocity, crash pulse, personal medical data, etc. Each of the subcommittees met numerous times to revise data elements within the section of the data set the subcommittee was addressing and to define the specific data formats for each element. Once each subcommittee was done with their section, the three sections were combined into a complete data formats/data dictionary document and presented to the full working group for approval. An XML schema was then created using the data formats document.

About the ComCARE ACN Data Set Working Group

Currently, when Telematics Service Providers (TSPs), such as OnStar and ATX Technologies, receive location and/or ACN data into their systems, they must verbally relay the information to emergency responders. Once the data resides in a TSPs system, there is no way to electronically forward the data through a network to multiple users.

There is a need to develop a data set for Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) information available from Telematics Service Providers (TSPs). Such a data set is needed for information available today, as well as information that may be available in the future. It is critical that efforts are made to develop a single XML-based data set in order to facilitate seamless data transmission to multiple public safety agencies. A single data set will allow ACN data to be used by agencies in any location without having to define a unique data set for individual systems. An open data standard is a necessary component of an integrated emergency communications system.

Goals of the Working Group: (1) Define single XML-based data set for ACN/Mayday data; (2) Ensure input from all key affected stakeholders; (3) Discuss interface with and delivery of data to multiple destinations; (4) Widely publicize new ACN data set to Medical/EMS and public safety communities, and to industry; (5) Utilize defined ACN data set in multiple simulations and field tests."

From the 2002-10-17 announcement:

The first use of the data set is in the Northern Shenandoah Valley ITS Public Safety Initiative, a project sponsored by Virginia"s Department of Transportation. Late last fall the leading telematics service providers, OnStar and ATX, pledged their cooperation with the Initiative, and the data set effort was launched, with VDOT providing support for ComCARE"s work in facilitating the effort. Some companies are already using earlier versions of the data set to simulate emergency incident response as part of safety technology demonstrations.

"Companies will build the data set into the new information technology systems they will be trialing in our Initiative in the Shenandoah Valley," said Dr. Jack Potter, Director of Emergency Medical Services of Valley Health System of Winchester, Virginia, and a leader of the Initiative. "We will be seeing use of this data set very soon."

Currently, when telematics service providers (TSPs), such as OnStar and ATX Technologies, receive data about an emergency from one of their customers" cars, they verbally relay the information to a public safety agency. TSPs, and emergency agencies such as 9-1-1, EMS systems, and hospitals currently do not electronically share incident data. The new draft vehicular emergency incident data set is the first step in a process to enable the electronic flow of emergency information from a TSP, such as ACN data, or a commercial vehicle operator, including hazmat information, to and among multiple public safety agencies, including 9-1-1 centers, other public safety entities, hospitals, transportation agencies and EMTs dispatched to the incident scene.

"Developing this data set is an important accomplishment," added Ball, "however, a lot of work still needs to be done before emergency incident data begins flowing to and among 9-1-1, EMS and other agencies across the country. We will continue to work with groups like ComCARE, NENA, the State EMS Directors and the National Association of EMS Physicians in a cooperative, collaborative process to determine how and what information to provide to the emergency response community," he added.

About The ComCARE Alliance: "The ComCARE Alliance and its members are working together to educate the public, business and government about telematics systems and other safety issues. A non-profit coalition, ComCARE consists of over fifty organizations representing physicians and nurses, the wireless industry, auto safety groups, telematics service providers, and public safety groups working together to enhance the nation's emergency response systems."

Related announcement 2002-10-15: Leaders in the Emergency Management Industry Form EXML Consortium to Establish Interoperability Standards." - "Leading companies in the emergency management industry announced today the formation of the EXML Consortium to promote and establish commercial interoperability standards for companies providing software solutions to emergency management personnel, particularly first responders. Information about the EXML Consortium was first made available at the booths of participating companies at the International Association of Emergency Management Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, October 12-16, 2002. Recognizing the urgent need to provide first responders and others involved in preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies of all kinds with the support they need, the following companies have committed to creating an open XML-based standard for emergency management data exchange. This will ensure that first responders, emergency and event managers, public health agency officials and executive management in both the public and private sectors can create and immediately share critical information during an emergency or major event. Founding members of the EXML Consortium include: AlertTech, BizCom USA, Blue292, ESRI, E Team, Inc., International Analytics (Division of Ship Analytics), NC4, SAIC, Visual Risk, and WebEOC..." Contact: Annie Baker (E Team, Inc).

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