While for some 911 call centers, the beginning of 2013 means the beginning of new budget crunches, for the Guilford Metro 911, the beginning of 2013 is simply a time for celebration.
After three years of planning and eight months of construction and upgrades, the call center has finally unveiled its newly remodeled, larger space, expanding its facility from 2,400 to 5,400 square feet.
With more than double the space, the center feels that it is now prepared to better serve the need for public safety.
To My Fox 8, 911 coordinator and project coordinator Craig Whittington said of the expansion, “Public safety doesn’t downsize, it grows because of need. Fire departments add stations… we update 911 because we have to have communicators to handle all that.”
In other locations across the country, municipal budget crunches are forcing some 911 centers to look for downsizing solutions; however, Whittington’s outlook reminds cities that have a legitimate need for more localized, expanded or even maintained 911 services that 911 centers are not the place to make budget cuts.
Some worry that by absorbing small, citywide call centers into countywide call centers, response times, which are critical in emergencies, may be adversely affected.
For call centers that are looking to improve their services, without increasing costs, the York-Poquoson-Williamsburg call center found a creative solution: accepting emergency SMS messages in cases when speaking would endanger callers’ lives or when they have impaired hearing.
Guilford Metro 911 hosted an open house from 2 PM to 4 PM on Monday, January. On Tuesday, it began taking calls and dispatching emergency services. The service provider reportedly now has 26 consoles and an upgraded system that facilitates speedier processing.
For a look into the new call center and to see some of the pictures depicting the changes that the call center went through, view DigiTriad’s video tour here.
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