ECC Technology Upgrades to Shorten Response Times - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

ECC Technology Upgrades to Shorten Response Times

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Friday, the emergency communications center that takes 911 calls from Charlottesville and Albemarle County is one step closer to potentially saving more lives.

The center is working on a $6 million overhaul. The plan includes a state-of-the-art computer system designed to speed up response times.

It won't seem any different from the outside, or when you call 911 - but from the inside, the new dispatch proposals will give first responders more lead time.

911 calls from Charlottesville, Albemarle County or the University of Virginia go to the Charlottesville- UVA-Albemarle County Emergency Communication Center (ECC).

When every second could mean a life, it's critical to have state-of-the-art dispatch and record systems.

"We are staying on top of the cutting edge of technology and we are replacing old antiquated systems so we can provide the best service that we can," said Tom Hanson, ECC executive director.

The ECC is closer to getting a new integrated system. It is officially considering firm proposals.

"We have a committee of 13 members right now who are currently going over those proposals," said Gerald Smith, ECC senior analyst.

One of the features allows dispatchers quick access to records of resources - like the position of fire extinguishers and hazmat units.

"It will also allow field to be able to see calls as soon as they come in to be able to themselves in route go ahead and go on those calls," said Smith.

Every feature of the envisioned dispatch and records system works to speed up the already fast-paced process.

"Right now we have a two- or three-minute delay between the calls that we have here and the calls that the units have out in the field so with the new system it would pretty much be real time that they have that information," said Smith.

The overhaul will take the ECC into the future.

"The vendor will provide us with the upgrades to that system up to a point and probably will be in this process again," said Hanson.

Hanson says if all goes well, the new system will not only be chosen and in place within the next two to three years, it could even cost less than the budgeted $6 million.

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