Changing technology leads to upgrades to the 911

Juanice Gray
What’s next for 9-1-1?
Natchitoches Parish has a state-of-the-art facility, well-trained dispatchers and staff, and an excellent call handling experience. So what’s next?
In this age of ever-changing technology, the NATCOM 911 Center must stay current to ensure that the citizens of the parish are served.
Natchitoches Parish currently operates Enhanced 911, an emergency response system that provides dispatchers with the location of a 911 caller. The E911 infrastructure is designed for citizens seeking emergency assistance through fire, police and ambulance services.
For 20 years, 911 solutions like E911 have attempted to solve the dilemma of emergency caller location and mobility by tracking the movement of smart devices.
That system is becoming obsolete as technology advances to include text to 911 and other features, such as video feeds.
The 911 Commission is looking at NextGen 911, a system that enables seamless communication between citizens, dispatchers and first responders. The NextGen infrastructure includes cloud-based networks that allow citizens to send information to dispatchers via voice and multimedia.
NextGen or NG911 will provide communities with faster and more accurate emergency response services.
Where E911 tracks the location and mobility of an emergency caller, NextGen 911 provides dispatchers and first responders with location data that is more accurate and in real time. With this information, first responders can find citizens in need and emergencies with less guesswork, significantly reducing response times and saving more lives.
Board members discussed transition costs at their Oct. 18 meeting.
After two years of research, a team of experts, with input from the emergency communications community, found it would cost between $9.5 billion and $12.7 billion over the next 10 years to expand Next Generation 911 capabilities to all 911 centers to call in the US
Actual costs for a communications district will vary depending on the size and needs of the agency. Combining efforts across the country (multiple 911 centers) greatly reduces the cost of the system. Because Natchitoches (38,000) has a smaller population, our costs compared to New Orleans (390,144), for example, are minimal.
The Natchitoches neighborhood is in its early stages. “Because we’re doing this as a nationwide collaborative effort, our portion of the first step in our endeavor is $2,600,” Director Kim Toliver said of getting the “request for qualifications” from a vendor who could write their “request for proposal .”
In other areas, the district installed four new road signs. With these additions and the ongoing problem of stolen signs needing to be replaced, the district will have to adjust its budget to absorb the rising costs.
Toliver also told the committee she learned at a recent meeting that there has been an increase in people not calling 911 in cases of stroke. “They just get in the car and drive to the emergency room. A lot of times they think it’s something else,” she said. First aid emphasizes the need for rapid assessment of stroke victims.
According to, stroke ranks as the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer. Ischemic stroke, the most common type, occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel, cutting off the brain’s supply of oxygen. Instead of self-diagnosing, call 911 first. First responders can help identify symptoms that a stroke is in progress or has occurred. “We don’t want people stopping on the road because the stroke has gotten too bad. “When you’re on the road, you’re harder to find than if you called before you left home,” Toliver said.
After a stroke occurs, the patient has only three hours for the doctor to administer a drug that will relieve the clot and save the brain tissue.

Signs of a stroke

“Call 911 first,” advises Toliver, “don’t just jump in the car and drive away.”
In his call volume report, Tolliver said NPSO received 1,633 calls in August and 1,558 in September. The Natchitoches Police Department received 355 calls in August and 391 in September.
Call response times for both agencies remain above 90% for a response within the first 15 seconds and 95-99% for a response within 20 seconds.
The next meeting is at 2 p.m. on November 15.

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