Perry County gets 911 system upgrade


NEW BLOOMFIELD, Pa. (WHTM) — When calling 911, you expect a fast response from dispatchers and first responders.

A new system upgrade at Perry County 911 will help maintain or even improve that.

Dispatchers use a computer-aided dispatch system (CAD) to get fire, police or emergency medical services to a caller in need of help.

Emergency Management Agency Director Rich Fultz says their old system was from 2007, long overdue for an upgrade.

“With the old system, we still dispatched very quickly as the callers were still on the phone,” Fultz said. “The dispatcher actually dispatched while the caller was still on the phone. That won’t change.”

What will change is the way calls are dispatched.

“The response time and the dispatch time may improve a little bit. It’s just a different way to manage the resources, a new way, an upgraded way,” Fultz said.

The maps are different too, allowing them to see different views on the maps to dispatch appropriately.

It’s not just Perry County getting the upgrade. Neighboring Juniata County will benefit too.

“The project was a joint project with Juniata County which will allow us to see their units and allow them to see our units and work interoperably,” Fultz said.

That means if for some reason one of the counties loses access to its 911 center because of a power outage or evacuation, there won’t be any effect to service.

“Just because we’re asking so many questions, does not mean we are delaying help in any way. We are sending you help,” said Wes Smith, deputy EMA director. 

You won’t notice any changes when you call 911, but new servers and new software will help dispatchers do their jobs more efficiently.

The new system was installed on February 18 and we’re told it seems to be working well.

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