An expanded, high-tech 911 emergency telephone dispatch system could be operational by next summer in Davis County if installation procedures continue at the current pace, fire and police officials were told this week.
The county currently has a basic 911 system in operation but is working to upgrade it to a more complex system, called enhanced or E911, according to Capt. K.D. Simpson of the Davis County Sheriff's Department. Simpson is overseeing the system's installation.He told members of the Davis County Communications Users Board on Tuesday that requests for bids on installing the enhanced system are going out now and installation work could begin in September, with the system becoming operational by June of 1989.
The board is made up of fire and police officials from various agencies around the county that use the sheriff's department dispatch center. It was created to bring up and iron out problems and better coordinate dispatch efforts.
Simpson said the county has already spent about $65,000 collecting the data the enhanced 911 system will need, including mapping out city boundaries, street addresses, and police and fire agency jurisdictions.
Depending on the bids the department gets back and what type of equipment is bought for each of the four regional dispatch centers, Simpson said the enhanced 911 system could cost between $350,000 and $500,000.
The cost is funded by a 50-cent-per- month fee assessed on residential telephone lines, a special assessment approved last year by the Utah Legislature. The individual cities collect the fees, turning the money over to the county to fund the system.
With the current basic, or B911 system, the caller is routed directly to the sheriff's department dispatch center. The dispatcher questions the caller to find out the nature of the emergency and where the call is coming from. Then he or she determineswhich agency should respond.
With the enhanced, or E911 system, incoming calls to a computer are automatically traced, and information is flashed on a computer screen that includes the caller's name, address, telephone number, and proper police, fire, and ambulance jurisdiction.
Additional computer software exists that could include medical information on the caller, such as chronic heart or other problems, that would aid paramedics.
Simpson said the current proposal calls for four regional dispatch centers in the county, in Bountiful, Farmington, Layton, and Clearfield. The centers will be linked by computer and, if one goes down, the others will be able to back it up.
But that will depend partly on individual decisions that will be made by the city councils involved, Simpson said. The councils will have to choose what type of equipment is purchased and how many optional features are included.
Simpson hopes they will all purchase the same equipment, making installation and coordination easier.
Installation of the Davis system is being supervised by an Ogden fireman, Terry Ingram, who gained experience overseeing installation of a similar system in Weber County.
Ingram said the Davis system is progressing better than he planned, partly because of superior cooperation so far between the communities and agencies affected.
Ingram - with agreement from Simpson - also said people aren't using the existing 911 system as much as they should be.
"We've done a good job educating people about using the 911 number in an emergency, but people are trying to determine for themselves what an emergency situation is," said Ingram.
"In a lot of situations, such as reporting a suspicious person or circumstance in their neighborhood, they're too conservative or they don't know for sure if it is an emergency and call in on another telephone number.
"We have to educate people to use the 911 number in any situation where they need a fireman, policeman, or ambulance to respond," Ingram said.