McCormick County gets 911 upgrade

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

August 10, 2006

It is a huge deal for a county that's always played catch-up with its neighbors.

Emergency personnel in McCormick County are counting down the days until the county's 911 service gets enhanced.

"I think it'll probably help McCormick County and our emergency services operation better than anything that has ever happened here," says McCormick County Emergency Services Directory Henry Deason, Jr.

Their current system has had problems recently, including temporary shutdowns of the entire system.

Now the Verizon company is providing McCormick with the latest in technology: hearing for the impaired, GPS name it.

News 12 is on your side with how callers can expect a more efficient service.

Christmas has come early in McCormick County.

The enhanced equipment is music to emergency responders' ears, especially after a recent shutdown due to loose strands in fiber-optic cables.

"When that one line gets cut it just puts us, all our equipment, everything, dead too," Deason says.

It's happened at least three times since 911 launched in 2002...but there are also other problems the new system will fix.

Under the current system, if a caller's cell phone goes dead during a 911 call, dispatch has no way of tracking the person's location. But for the new equipment, that will be a cinch.

"As it comes into the computer, it will also ring up and show on a GIS map that we have," says coordinator Chris Doolittle.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology is just months away from being assembled.

"They'll come in and do all the training for the dispatchers," Deason says.

And as early as November, McCormick County could be completely online.

Should McCormick County's 911 system fail again between now and November, dispatch will do what it's always done, which is contact local radio and television stations to broadcast a seven-digit phone number as an alternative.

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