Local First Responder Project

Information sharing at the local level

Local Project Squares

In 2014 the NISC launched the Local First Responder Information Sharing Decision Support Project, a technical assistance engagement with local jurisdictions — Charlottesville and James City County in Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina — to address all levels of information sharing specific to the first responder community. These engagements focused on day-to-day sharing and management within a single discipline and jurisdiction, escalating to multi-discipline, multi-jurisdiction interaction. Emphasis was placed on the criticality of information and data published and used by local and county-level organizations, and on methods for managing information to enable key decision-making at every point in the chain of response, including points that require state-level involvement.  The NISC received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to fund this important work.

Local First Responders Report

Read the Project Findings Report to learn more.

This project was designed as a repeatable process. The first step is to identify participants and host and introduce them to one another and the goals of the project. Then the current environment is assessed via interviews and questionnaires. The feedback is analyzed and then shared in a workshop attended by all the participants. This is when the participants craft a strategy for moving forward, in both the short term and long term. The short term goals are implemented and a final report includes details on achieving the long term goals. Once the cycle is complete, it can be carried out again to examine a different scenario or set of stakeholders, and it can be easily duplicated in other locations.

Key Participants

Stakeholders in Charlottesville and James City County, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina came from many different departments, agencies, and organizations, including emergency management, law enforcement, fire management, communications, GIS, transportation, health care, schools, the Red Cross, and public and private utility companies.

Focus Areas

In this project, the NISC sought to improve the following areas:

  • Day-to-day operations of first responders at the local level (e.g., fire management, law enforcement, emergency medical services)
  • Data creation, access, and packaging
  • Leveraging current investments and identifying potential new tools to augment current capabilities


This project resulted in improved information access and more sustainable information management and sharing capabilities for the participants. Outcomes from the final report are shared with NISC members in the member portal. Other outcomes include:

  • Identifying key data sets needed by the first responder community
  • Standardizing the creation and exchange of information
  • Identifying best practices for data library organization - enabling better discovery and access to information
  • Sharing and managing information derived from public safety communication centers, (e.g., computeraided dispatch (CAD) systems, records management systems, and criminal justice databases)
  • Packaging relevant information for use toward specific types of incidents
  • Scaling and coordinating mutual aid requests to state ESF and EMAC processes
  • Establishing a replicable information management and sharing model
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