Salt Lake County officials on Tuesday unveiled long-awaited improvements to its 911 emergency response systems. They say the upgrades will save lives and money.
Minutes, even seconds could mean the difference between life and death when a person dials 9-1-1. Salt Lake County is on a mission to save those critical moments says Sheriff Jim Winder.
“We have been struggling with the need to improve the service delivery to our citizens for 20 plus years,” Winder says. “And much of that struggle has been predicated on the inability of individuals to simply work together.”
Winder praised the people who stood behind him at Tuesday’s announcement for their cooperation: Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, mayors throughout the valley, the directors of the two major 9-1-1 dispatch centers and public safety officials.
The new county-wide software platform ensures people who call for help will be located and cared for without delay says Scott Freitag. He’s the director of Salt Lake City’s 911 Bureau.
“We won’t have to transfer the 10,000 calls that we transfer every month,” Freitag says. “We won’t have to have callers frustrated because they have to answer the questions again or not understand why the first person they talk to isn’t the one that can take care of them.”
Three years ago Mayor McAdams and the Salt Lake County Council set aside $1.4 million dollars to research a unified system. The Utah legislature also set up a special restricted account to collect money for 9-1-1 services.
It’s expected to take about 17 months to fully implement the new system.