STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton’s emergency call center is running on the latest technology, Next Gen 911, i3. That means a system that’s faster and more efficient. Staunton is one of the first in a statewide initiative just behind three localities in Northern Virginia.
Staunton has traded in decades-old technology for Next Gen 911. It’s a complete overhaul of the way calls are actually delivered to the dispatch center, and it could save lives.
“If you’re having a medical emergency a couple seconds can make a huge difference,” Staunton Chief Technology Officer Kurt Plowman said.
With this new technology, each new call that comes in dispatchers now know who owns the number and where they’re located. It’s saving critical time in an emergency. “When that call hits us it is actually presenting all that information when it hits our front door,” Plowman said.
The GPS-based system also helps dispatchers know exactly which agency should respond. “We can have Staunton calls routed to Staunton, Augusta County routed to Augusta County. We could actually have interstate calls routed to the State Police,” Plowman stated.
The transition to this new improved 911 system went off without a hitch after rigorous testing. “We had to make hundreds and hundreds of 911 calls to test every possible path that a call could go through,” Plowman said.
The switchover, now two weeks in, has gone largely unnoticed according to Plowman, and that’s the way he says it should be. “This is one of those projects you don’t want anybody to know that it was done until after it was done because if somebody noticed, something probably didn’t go right.”
The project was paid for by the state which laid out a plan to get all localities on Next Gen 911, i3.