One thing most people will agree on is that a good 911 system can make the difference between life and death. Now, Scioto County has put a new state-of-the-art Frontier 911 system into operation.
One of the components of the installation of the new system is the price. Scioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis said the county put in $400,000 of the approximately $520,000 cost.
“It came out of our general fund and still we increased our surplus,” Davis said.
The sheriff’s office has contributed $120,000.
When it comes to taking pride in the new 911 system, Captain Shawn Sparks of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office in front and center.
“Our old system, heaven forbid, if it would break down, they don’t even have replacement parts for it. It is just that old.” Sparks said. “If that did happen, we would be dead in the water.”
Sparks said the other advantage is the mapping.
“Our old mapping system is at least 20 years old. It’s black and white. It is not GIS set up like the new system,” Sparks said. “It pinpoints where that person (911 caller) is.”
Another feature is for the deaf in the community. Under the old system, they had to call a company provided to them and that company would, in turn, call the sheriff’s office.
“This new system will have the texting for the deaf,” Sparks said. “They are looking for later on, the photos. Let’s say someone sees a tanker truck crash, they can actually take a picture with their phone, send us the information.”
Sparks said the system is still being updated. When all information is into the system it will be able to tell dispatch exactly where things like fire hydrants are located. It will be able to show exactly where the call came from more accurately.
“The system we’re going to now will have a backup, so if something goes down, it’s supposed to kick everything over to the city. If the city goes down, it kicks 911 to us,” Sparks said.
Skip Dalton, 911 service manager for Frontier in Ohio, the company that installed the system, said it is the ultimate 911 out there.
“They’re calling it the Next Generation because we’re going from an analogue environment into an IP type system using an internet protocol going forward, or the ability to do stuff that’s done over the internet,” Dalton said. “So eventually they’ll be able to do texting. They’ll be able to do video, have pictures and a lot of stuff that weren’t available with the analogue type systems. So it’s preparing them with the ability that as those things develop, to be able to take advantage of that.”
April Pierson sat amid the new 911 protocol and fielded calls with new color screens and more accuracy while at the Scioto County Commissioners meeting, they too were touting the new 911 update.
“The 911 system that we have now is probably the latest and greatest,” Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree said. “I guess it is what everybody else is using. The sheriff has put money into it as well as the county.”
“When time equals safety, time equals lives, this is going to save lives,” Davis said. “and you can’t put a price on a life.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.