SWFD using new 911 technology

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – This week, first responding agencies all over the country are honoring the person who is usually the first to answer in an emergency.

It is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

The South Walton Fire District observed the event by showing off the newly remodeled communication center and demonstrating new 911 technology.

Dispatchers used to depend on callers to know where their location is, or ping cell phone towers to determine the location of an emergency.

This new technology, called Rapid SOS, relays cell phone GPS coordinates to dispatchers, even pinpointing the elevation in case the caller is in a tall building.

It also provides other details like the cell service provider and type of cell phone.

“Timing is everything, location is everything… Without a location, we can’t send somebody to you,” South Walton Fire District Communications Supervisor Angela Gilluly said. “So with these new technologies and being able to pinpoint where somebody is with a very slim uncertainty, we are able to get people the help that they need in the quickest amount of time.”

The South Walton Fire District is also implementing texting to 911.

It’s useful if the caller is in a situation where they can’t talk or make any noise.

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