In Nov. 8 IssueRussell County News
The county’s long journey toward enhanced 911 service at the Russell County Dispatch Center has reached a mile-stone.
The “enhanced” system is up and running, as of Wednesday this week.
The change brings a new degree of cooperation between the systems in the dispatch center.
Director Sondra Wesley said the system links a map of the county with every call that comes in on the 911 line.
“As soon as the call comes in the location comes up on that monitor,” Wesley said, indicating one of the several screens over the head of Dispatcher Amber Mills.
With the push of a button the information from the call is also transferred to the computer dispatching system.
Two different maps display the location of the call once that is activated.
Based on a dispatcher’s needs they can turn on, or off, different layers on the two maps.
The different layers of data displayed on the maps show the roads, the buildings, aerial photos and rivers lakes or streams in the area.
Mills said dispatching calls was much more difficult without the new system.
“You’d be amazed how many people don’t know where they live,” Wesley said.
They may know the name they’ve always called the road they live on, or they may know how to direct someone there, in a fashion.
“I had one person this week say, ‘we’re in the white house with green shutters just past the black barn,’” Mills said.
Wesley said other directions they often hear are things like, “We’re behind my parent’s house,” or others such as “You know where the old store used to be...”
“Please tell everyone to call in on the 911 phone line so we can see where to send help,” Wesley said.
In the past it may not have mattered what phone line people called in on, since none of them had the enhanced features, but now the system can help dispatchers get help to those who need it whether the caller can tell them anything about where they are needed or not, Wesley explained.
She added that further improvements are needed to finish the project, but things are progressing.