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Connecticut Is Replacing Its Outdated 911 Technology

A 911 call center.
A 911 call center.

Connecticut is one of several states that’s in the process of upgrading its emergency system. It will replace the outdated operation, which was built to respond to landline calls, and bring the system into the 21st century using new technology called Next Generation 911.

 

The new system is already being implemented in Connecticut. The upgrade will allow dispatchers to accept text and video messages, and eventually will be able to pinpoint the exact location of a cell phone caller.

 

Tammy Wright is a dispatcher for the police department in the town of Berlin who’s been using the new system. Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live, Wright said it’s all still a work in progress.

 

“The mapping issues are the same. We haven’t been able to narrow it down yet so that if you are in a high-rise, or if you’re in a multi-apartment building it doesn't say like, they’re on the second floor, left wing, or something like that," said Wright. "You do get the phone number, so all that information is pretty much the same."

 

However, Wright said, the new system has made the process of transferring calls to other emergency departments much easier.

 

Last month, dispatch centers in Connecticut that had been upgraded to the Next Generation 911 system experienced outages, preventing them from answering 911 calls.

 

Bill Youell, director of the Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications, explained what happened.

 

“The cause of the outage as described to us from AT&T, who is our vendor [...] there was a system capacity threshold that was met, and this caused memory to be used up in the system and it resulted in intermittent failures in the delivery of 911 calls," said Youell.

Youell said AT&T resolved the problem and is planning another software upgrade next week to permanently address the issue.

Copyright 2016 Connecticut Public