911 Call Center Planning Public Awareness Campaigns

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When to call 9-1-1 - and when not to - was one of the topics of discussion at a meeting of the Cannon County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District Board of Directors on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

To better inform and educate Cannon County residents about proper use of the 9-1-1 system, the district will soon begin airing public service announcements on WBRY.

The district and WBRY are partners in a unique working arrangement which allows the radio station to re-broadcast its signal in FM using the district radio tower. In exchange, the 9-1-1 Center can go on WBRY during times of emergency to provide alerts to the public.

In addition, WBRY promotes a public awareness campaign that the 9-1-1 district can use to get their messages across to the public.

Station owner Doug Combs played for the board a few examples of what the public services messages might contain.

“Everyone in the county is a potential user of the 9-1-1 system,” Combs said.

“These public services messages will be about how to use 9-1-1, and also how to prepare for and respond properly to emergency situations such as emergency medical situations, fires, storms and tornadoes.”

Also during the meeting the board:

• Heard a report and viewed slides presented by Emergency Communications Director Roy Sullivan on additions and improvements being made to the 9-1-1 Call Center, including the installation of a storage building and the construction of concrete pads for a generator shelter. The HLS Generator was scheduled to be in place last week.

• Heard from Sullivan that narrowband relicensing had been initiated. Narrowingbanding involves a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate that all users of land mobile radios (LMR) operating below 512 MHz move to 12.5 kHz narrowband voice channels and highly efficient data channel operations by January 1, 2013.

As of January 1, 2011, all new radios sold in the US must be narrowband-capable - thus MY2011 radios/buses may not be able to communicate with wideband LMR systems.

Due to the FCC mandate, “we will have to reprogram every radio in this county, which is a big issue,” Sullivan said.

• Discussed Next Generation (NG) 9-1-1. The nation’s current 9-1-1 system is designed around telephone technology and cannot handle the text, data, images and video that are increasingly common in personal communications and critical to future transportation safety and mobility advances.The Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) initiative will establish the foundation for public emergency communications services in a wireless mobile society.

• Approved a motion authorizing Sullivan to request a new call frequency for the Woodbury Fire Department, pending approval of funding from the Town of Woodbury.

• Welcomed new board member Anna Pittman, who was appointed by the Cannon County Commission at its July meeting.

• Voted to approve a new district information access policy.
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