Wichita-Wilbarger 911 District Updating Current 911 System

The 911 system for the Wichita-Wilbarger 911 District is about to be updated with the latest technology.

Wichita-Wilbarger 911 District Executive Director Gary Young says the new system will give the public different options when dialing 911. 

Dispatchers at the Wichita-Wilbarger 911 District handle a wide range of phone calls.

It's up to them to make sure police and first responders get to an emergency when needed.

Their current system has been in place for 10 years but Young says it's about to get a major upgrade.

"We have to do it because as I mentioned, the system we have now is, as far as support from the manufacturer; we won't be able to have support from them after 2014," Young says.

Young says the New Generation 911 system will cost $1.3 million for five years plus about $7,000 a month for the Ethernet network that will connect all of the locations.

He says it will be paid for with cell phone and landline fees.

Young says Wichita and Wilbarger counties will be one of the first to use the new 911 system in the area.

"It is to save lives and the public and really the dispatchers will not see any difference in 911 call handling now," Young says. 

Young says the new system will allow dispatchers to receive different types of calls that they can't receive now.

He says, "Eventually, the public will be able to transmit video, text which we can do text with one wireless carrier now; telematics types data which is OnStar data and 911 assistance from vehicles and things like that."

New features Young says will be crucial in life and death situations.

Also, Young says in a few years a new network will be installed and will link all the 911 systems in the state together.

He says it will allow for dispatchers across the state to answer calls especially during a catastrophe when systems may become overloaded with calls. 

Verizon wireless users are the only ones who can text message 911 at the moment but Young says all major wireless carrier users will be able to text by the end of the year.

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