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911 calls in Lee County receive a technology upgrade

Effective immediately, residents and visitors can expect a more responsive 911 service due to an upgrade of Next Generation 911 technology. Now, first responders will be able to quickly locate the emergency with advanced location services. Call takers will have a map to show exactly where the call comes from and then will share that information with first responders.

Lee Board of County Commissioners and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office announced the upgrades on Wednesday in tandem with both the 35th anniversary of 911 in Lee County and National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

The Next Generation 911 upgrades also suggest that residents and visitors soon will be able to send pictures and video through text-to-911 services to assist emergency responders.

By providing callers with a link to upload files, emergency services call takers in Lee County will be able to see pictures, videos or livestream from a scene. Callers will not have the option to send until prompted.

Voice calls to 911 remain the most effective method for requesting emergency assistance. Call takers get a great deal of information from background noise, changes in voice and breathing and other sounds that come from a voice call.

A caveat to using your phone for emergency services is that mobile carriers still handle texts to 911 like any other message. You can experience the same service speeds or delays, depending on network strength in your area. A text or data plan is required to text to 911 and regular rates apply.

The additional technology services that are available effective immediately to improve the handling of 911 calls in Lee County include:

  • Advanced location services, which will allow emergency communications personnel to send help with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Call takers will have a map to show exactly where the call comes from and will share that information with first responders.
  • It is still important to know the location of your emergency as this can confirm what the call center is seeing and help emergency responders get there as quickly as possible.
  • RapidSOS integration, which will send vital information from both vehicle and phone.
  • An automated callback system, which can be used in the event of multiple hang-ups at the same time.
  • Vehicles with Automatic Collision Notification (ACN) software will immediately transmit crash speed, force of impact, number of passengers, location, and size of vehicle involved in a collision to the nearest call center.

More resources:

The Lee County Department of Public Safety comprises several primary divisions with functions designed to assist residents, visitors and local government agencies. These include Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Emergency Management, Emergency Communications, and Technology Services. Visit www.leegov.com for more information.

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