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Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:31

New 911 technology could save critical seconds in emergency dispatch

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Emergency agencies throughout Haywood County expect to be clocking in quicker response times soon.

Fire, police and EMS divisions within the county will begin using a new Computer-Aided Dispatch and Mobile Data Information System this week, aimed at improving efficiency as well as interagency communication.

“It will reduce the response time a bit,” said Kristy Lanning, director of technology and communications for Haywood County.

Currently, dispatchers field incoming emergency calls and contact the appropriate responders — be it police, fire or an ambulance. With the new system, agencies will be able to access information about an emergency in real-time as the dispatcher inputs it.

The county will save money by funding the multijurisdictional project rather than purchasing a system for each emergency response agency.

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners heard an update on the project at their meeting Monday.

The $354,944 project is being paid for with designated Emergency Telephone System Funds, a small surcharge on monthly phone bills that is earmarked for county 9-1-1 systems. The cost was spread over two years and included software, hardware and some of the mobile equipment, which allows public safety officials to connect to the new system from their vehicles.

Individual agencies will pay for annual licensing, maintenance and upgrades to the system. A new administrator position has been created to oversee use and management of the new system.

It also uses GPS technology to locate the emergency responders who are nearest to a particular location.

“This is a huge step forward,” said Mark Swanger, chairman of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners approved the project in April, and public safety officials have spent the subsequent months implementing the system and training employees how to use it.

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