An overhaul of South Dakota's 9-1-1 system will update technology to handle cellphone calls and create a network for dispatch centers that could improve response times, officials said. Plans call for the state to spend $35 million over the next decade to update the system, with the money coming from monthly phone bill fees.
The Dallas 9-1-1 Call Center has made significant improvements, including adding 45 dispatchers, increasing salaries, improving technology and implementing quality controls, city officials said. Call answering times have dropped to an average of 2 seconds, but officials said more work needs to be done to update equipment to be able to handle the increase in 9-1-1 calls made from cellphones.
The FirstNet Board approved hiring a general manager but will not release the identity of the person chosen until background checks are conducted. The board also approved budget requests for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and $1 million in additional support for FirstNet's outreach and advocacy efforts.
The ManDown application for smartphones was developed by four New York City Fire Department firefighters as a personnel tracker that will send an emergency alert to everyone on a user's preprogrammed list of contacts. Firefighters can activate the app before starting work; it issues an alert, advising contacts of the user's name and location if the firefighter is lost or down during a fire.