Lawrence County Upgrades 911 System

WALNUT RIDGE (KAIT) More and more people are using cell phones these days. Which makes it harder for emergency services to find someone or the scene of a fire or accident.

Now another Region Eight county can zero in on those calls for help.

Lawrence County's 911 Coordinator Peggy Miles told me what it was like before the upgrade.

"In Phase 1 it would only show a cell phone number and the tower it hit. We didn't know the location."

Crucial time lost in identifying landmarks or streets, often with a panicky person on the phone.

The phase 2 upgrade can eliminate most if not all location problems.

Miles, "The new set up displays their location within 30 feet sometimes to the exact point. That way we can direct and guide the emergency personnel."

We went out on the road to give the system a test. From a static position it put me on the map right next to where I was actually standing.

Another  feature of this upgrade is its ability to track a moving target this would allow police to track down and locate a victim being held in a moving vehicle or for emergency personnel to meet up with someone bringing in a person in a private vehicle.

A feature that is critical to helicopter evacuation is the systems ability to display GPS coordinates.  A person could drive to the scene, call in on a cell phone and have a location for the helicopter.

All procedures have stayed the same, local emergency personnel now realize how valuable a tool this can be in the performance of their duties.

Miles...."stayed the same. It's just that it has enabled us to have a faster response time. And that's what it's all about."

The system went into service in October of this year.

Lawrence county purchased the system through grants and funds that are part of cell phone user fees.