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 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.
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.
Concerns raised by first responders promoted Lawrence County, S.D., to enact an ordinance requiring consistent address signs at homes in the county. First responders recounted incidents in which they had trouble finding people in rural areas, and officials said GPS is often not precise enough for emergency use.