Wisconsin plans to upgrade 911 services - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin plans to upgrade 911 services


A recent state budget has put aside $6.7 million to upgrade 911 services to the digital age. 

It would go into planning and developing 'NextGen 911' which would allow 911 call centers to receive videos and text messages from someone in distress.

Currently first responders can reach someone in an emergency with locating the nearest cell phone tower. 

Communications Manager for the Portage County Sheriff's Department said their communication center receives an average of 128 thousand calls per year.

Implementing 'NextGen 911' will not only increase call volume but it will be life changing, according to Denise Nash.

"Right now the com tech 911 technicians have to gain information by questions," Nash said. "If there are video there is video there would be real time video to be seen what is out on the road, which could save lives."

According to Nash the plan is still in the works.

"The budget that has been set aside for that is just for the planning," Nash said.

According to the National Emergency Number Association four out of the 50 states have already implemented 'NextGen 911'.

The states include, Iowa,Indiana, Maine and Vermont.

Nash said there is a lot to do before the new feature will be available. 

"They have to create a fiber optic throughout the whole entire state, to have that fast internet and fast services, because all the 911 lines are on a analog," Nash said.

Nash thinks the plan will take five to seven years, but she said it will all be worth it.

"In a type of incident, that someone would want to call 911, a crash where we would see that there are people in trapped or even a hit and run where they would be able to get video of a vehicle leaving the scene," Nash said. 

Although the new service wont be in full effect for a few years, Nash emphasized that current 911 com centers are still very capable to react to an emergency.

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