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Majority of Americans fear their local police department and emergency dispatchers will be overwhelmed in the event of a crisis, support resilient technology for first responders

02 March 2023   •   4 minute read

New national study, commissioned by Mark43, also uncovered Americans’ biggest concern in times of distress—911 operating systems failing when they are needed most.

Americans’ would feel safer if their community had a backup emergency dispatch system that was resilient in times of crisis

NEW YORK – March 2, 2023 – Americans are concerned their local police department may be overwhelmed or unable to respond in times of crisis, such as extreme weather conditions or domestic terrorism, according to a new survey on disaster preparedness commissioned by Mark43, the leading mission-critical public safety software company. 

With an uptick in significant weather and other disruptive events, such as power grid failures, massive droughts and hurricanes, nearly three-quarters (71%) of Americans worry their local public safety agency could be overwhelmed during an emergency. However, while the study reveals that natural disasters are Americans’ top concern, 65% are also concerned about their local police department’s tactical response during major events like sports, political conventions and man-made incidents like cyberattacks.  

Additional key takeaways from the survey include: 

Americans expect first responders to have backup systems so their local police agency and emergency dispatchers don’t lose access to critical response systems 

  • More than one-third (37%) of Americans expect their local police to respond less quickly during an emergency
  • 84% acknowledged that updated public safety technology would speed up 911 response times

When asked about police tech upgrades, Americans ranked backup dispatch systems as the highest priority

  • An overwhelming majority (92%) of Americans want to see their local agencies use a backup emergency dispatch system
  • 63% report feeling safer in a community with such a system 

Respondents believe that power outages, not enough personnel and protests/riots are the top three incidents impacting local police departments during a crisis

  • 57% are more concerned about natural disasters than man-made disasters 
  • 36% are worried about interrupted police communications
  • 31% are concerned about data breaches

Extreme weather is more present than ever and Americans want police agencies to have the latest technology to keep them safe

  • 94% of Americans have dealt with an extreme weather event in their lifetime. The top three? Blackouts, snowstorms and heatwaves 
  • A majority (55%) of Americans have worried about how they’d get in touch with emergency personnel during a blackout
  • Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents are not confident their local agency is well-equipped during extreme events

Increase support for public safety with an alternate CAD
The survey findings demonstrate that the general public recognizes the need for emergency dispatch to remain constantly connected. The standard computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, often nicknamed “the operating system for 911,” allows telecommunicators to deploy emergency units quickly and dependably. However, these systems can be interrupted and fail due to extreme weather, cyberattacks or being inundated with traffic by significant events or demonstrations. The result? Emergency dispatchers without their primary CAD must keep track of a city’s public safety personnel on notecards and whiteboards. After only 30 minutes of the CAD system going down, the pen-and-paper approach during a crisis becomes untenable.

An alternate CAD is one way public safety agencies can ensure they are providing communities with an uninterrupted, swift response to potentially life-threatening calls. Mark43 Alternate CAD can be a backup to a community’s primary CAD, keeping public safety agencies operating and constantly connected—no matter the situation. It also can provide tactical support, such as special event management, on a separate CAD system to document, track and collect all relevant and necessary data while ensuring police departments stay connected to any critical task force. Mark43 Alternate CAD is resistant to outages, traffic spikes and cyber threats, and ensures calls for service aren’t interrupted when a crisis happens and people need help.  

“Public safety is constantly pressured with evolving threats and ever-increasing expectations,” said Bob Hughes, CEO of Mark43. “Whether a natural disaster or cyberattack causes a systemwide outage, these mission critical systems are simply too important to be interrupted for any amount of time. With any downtime, public safety is immediately at risk and an agency’s tactical response to emergencies are crippled or even nullified.” 

Mark43 Alternate CAD runs on a resilient, redundant, cloud-native platform. Operating without interruption, it keeps telecommunicators and first responders constantly connected to their communities to respond immediately to urgent calls for service.

“All the tech we rely on daily is in the cloud,” said Hughes. “With our ‘CAD in the cloud’ technology, responders—and the communities they serve—can be assured that they have a reliable and resilient platform in an emergency. Mark43 Alternate CAD provides confidence in the event of a disaster, safeguarding communities in distress.”


A national online survey of 1,002 general consumers was conducted by Propeller Insights between February 9th and February 13th, 2023. Respondents opted into an online database; from there, they were targeted based on demographics. To further confirm qualifications, respondents were asked to verify their information in the survey itself, self-identifying qualifications. The maximum margin of sampling error +/- was 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

About Mark43

Mark43 is the leading mission critical public safety technology company. By delivering a modern, intuitive and mobile-first Records Management System, Computer-Aided Dispatch and Analytics platform, Mark43 empowers governments and their communities to improve the safety and quality of life for all. Working with more than 200 local, state and federal public safety agencies, Mark43 is transforming how first responders use technology to respond, engage and serve the community. Mark43 provides the tools, resources, expertise and security foundation that public safety needs today, tomorrow and beyond. For more information or to request a demo, visit  

Media Contact
Maddie Coe