Holmes County introduces new 911 system

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BONIFAY, Fla. (WMBB)–Holmes County is introducing a new 911 system, allowing for improved response times and accuracy.

Since the 1990’s, the Holmes County 911 center has utilized an analog call system. Now, they’re going digital with ‘Next Generation 911’.

“It really brings us to the digital age and gives us a lot of flexibility, allows the 911 calls to flow through the system faster,” said Lieutenant Clint Smith, Communications Division Director for the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office.

The County is being completely re-mapped using a Geographic Information System, commonly reffered to as ‘GIS’.

In the past, the County used an ‘Enhanced 911’ system, which failed to alert first reponders to the exact location of those in need. Rather, it alerts them to the general area.

“By doing the mapping work that we’ve done, it pinpoints that address on top of the structure, the home, and it helps us better identify their exact location,” Lt. Smith said.

Smith says timing is everything during an emergency

“You know, those 2 or 3 seconds or longer that the responder is driving around trying to find the caller…That may mean life or death for somebody,” Lt. Smith said.

Having accurate locations is extremely important, especially in rural areas.

“The goal of your 911 call still remains the same. We want your call to be able to go through, we want to determine where you are quicker and determine your need and get a first responder to you as quick as possible,” Lt. Smith said.

The mapping project is funded by grant opportunities. The Sheriff’s Office hopes to have the entire county re-mapped by 2020.

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