Greene County is now getting a new 911 emergency system. The new technology is supposed to speed up emergency response times and make it easier to contact EMS.
Typically when you think of calling 911 you picture picking up the phone and dialing. But soon, in Greene County, you will be able to text or even send a video to ask for help.
"We're getting it because we need it," said Greene County Supervisor Jim Frydl.
The sheriff's office says the current system is outdated and hopes the new, more efficient system will speed up emergency response times and help people in any emergency.
"This system is a lot different because it is IP-based and not telephone-based," said Major Charles Swingler with the Greene County Sheriff's Office.
The new Internet-based system, called Next Generation 911, will allow people to send text, picture or video messages for help.
"It may be a person that can't speak, it could be a person that's hard of hearing. It would benefit them because they could send us something through text," Swingler said.
The option to send a text message will also help people in areas with poor cell phone service, which affects many areas of Greene County.
"We need to replace it, because public safety is a core function of government so we have to have a working system. Outside of our people it's the most important component of public safety," Frydl said.
The Next Generation 911 services aren't an overnight project. Once the new system is installed it will take months before the text, video and picture messages can be performed.
The project will cost almost $274,000. Of that, $150,000 was funded by a grant and the rest by Greene County.
The Virginia E-911 services board is providing the grant money. The new system will be installed in about four months.
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