How the Move to NG9-1-1 Paid Off for Two PSAPs

In Blog by Tony Parrott | VP of Sales January 29, 2020

Athens/Limestone & Dane County Blog Post

Tony Parrott shares real-world stories from two very ambitious PSAPs who decided to become NG9-1-1 frontrunners.

We recently spoke with the leadership at two PSAPs who upgraded to our Solacom Guardian solutions a few years ago to learn what their move to NG9-1-1 has meant to their operations.

As they described the benefits of the solutions’ speed, flexibility, and interoperability, the 9-1-1 center directors in Athens/Limestone County and Dane County shared a number of real-world examples. We’d like to share some of those examples with you.

Meet Two NG9-1-1 Frontrunners

Before we get to their stories, here’s a quick introduction to the two PSAPs and their very ambitious approach to NG9-1-1. Note these two PSAPs are very different sizes:

  • Athens/Limestone County 911 in Athens, Alabama, has four full-time call takers answering approximately 37,000 emergency calls a year from nearly 100,000 citizens in Athens and Limestone County.

Athens/Limestone County started its move to the forefront of 9-1-1 services in 2012 when it upgraded to our NG9-1-1 call handling and management solution. Since then, the county has set itself apart with a number of achievements in public safety innovation, including being one of the first 9-1-1 centers in Alabama to accept text-to-911 calls.

  • Dane County Public Safety Communications operates a 21-position location in Madison, Wisconsin, and a 14-position backup and training center outside the city. Dane County call takers answer approximately 200,000 9-1-1 calls and 300,000 non-emergency administration calls every year.

Dane County put together an NG9-1-1 request for proposal (RFP) that asked for almost every feature and capability the team could think of. The goal was to ensure they had an IP-based solution that would support current and future advances in call handling and management technologies. They cut over to their NG9-1-1 system in October 2017.

Leveraging All Available Data in Athens/Limestone County

The team in Athens/Limestone County has been encouraging residents to complete Smart911 profiles since 2014. The free service allows residents to set up a personal profile call takers can refer to during a 9-1-1 call. Profiles can include information about the people and pets living in the home, illnesses, medications, access points, and many other details.

When a man who could barely speak called 9-1-1, he reached an Athens/Limestone County call taker who could instantly see his Smart911 profile through the Solacom Guardian call handling solution.

Based on the medical information in the profile, the call taker quickly determined the caller had suffered a severe seizure. As a result, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel were dispatched to the man’s home immediately. The EMS team was able to reach the caller about 15 to 20 minutes faster than they would have following the standard protocol — a time savings that may have meant the difference between life and death.

Finding New Agility in Dane County

Dane County officials offered these three examples to highlight the flexibility and efficiency they’ve gained:

  • Because call takers can see exactly where calls are coming from on the integrated graphical map, they can easily identify “outlier” calls when there is a cluster of calls about a major incident. This capability proved to be extremely helpful during a major power outage and an active shooter incident.
  • When a power outage affected the Dane County facility, the geo-diverse system enabled the team to seamlessly relocate to the backup center outside the city.
  • When a gas leak meant call takers from another PSAP had to relocate to the Dane County facility, those call takers were able to immediately start using the highly intuitive Guardian call handling solution. The transition was so easy, that PSAP is now also considering our solutions.

The Right Foundation for the Future

Along with the benefits they’re enjoying today, both PSAPs noted that their IP-based NG9-1-1 solutions give them the right foundation for whatever next-generation requirements come along in the future.

Get More Information

To learn more about the challenges the PSAPs in Athens/Limestone County and Dane County were facing before their move to NG9-1-1, the solutions they implemented, and their strategies for ongoing evolution, read our case studies:

Download the Case Study “Athens/Limestone County 911 Plugs in to the Future with Solacom” to learn more about how the Guardian 9-1-1 Call Handling Solution is enhancing public safety. 

Get the Case Study


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