Digital technology changing the future of 911 call response

POSTED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 9:58am
UPDATED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 10:06am

New 911 call technology is making it easier for operators to respond more quickly and effectively in Bell County. In fact, being able to text and send pictures to the emergency communications center may not be too far in the future.

"We can't help you if we can't find you," said Dalton Cross, Bell County Director of Communications.

Digital technology is changing the way 911 operators can assist callers in the event of an emergency.

"Hello, this is Bell County 911," said a 911 dispatcher in response to a caller.

Using a next generation 911 telephone system, responders can now detect a caller's location without the caller having to know a specific address.

"We've had a caller call and say that they were on a road with four lanes with a bunch of trees, and the last thing they remember passing was a certain business. And, we've been able to get help out to them by just asking basic surroundings," said 911 Dispatcher Becky Cooley.

Bell County Communications Center implemented the new technology last July. The state paid the nearly one million dollars for the system, which is partly funded through the taxes we pay on our phone services. 

"During the course of these eight months, we've done numerous upgrades, repairs, and tweaks," said Cross.
 

The system is also capable of receiving texts, pictures, and other data.

"When you call us on your cell phone, you can transmit us additional information that you can't or couldn't on a normal analog phone," said Cross.
 

That part is just not in use now because the communications center is waiting on factors to bring it all together.
 

"The state and the commercial carriers, the AT&Ts and the Verizons of the world have to upgrade their equipment that will allow them to deliver that digital content to us."
 

Digital content sharing, Cross says, may be a real possibility within the next five years.
 

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