Emergency management agencies are taking a regional approach to public safety in western Pennsylvania, as 10 counties plan to use a shared next-generation 911 system by early 2013.

Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset and Westmoreland counties will be linked on a network with access to the same 911 technology, giving each of the counties in the conglomerate the ability to accept emergency text and video messages.

Frank Matis, director of Butler County Emergency Services, said the idea was sprung when Allegheny and Mercer did their own 911 system upgrades. Various counties in the region then reached out to one another and the state — which oversees the 911 program of each county — about a way to share the technology throughout the western part of Pennsylvania.

Go to Emergency Management to read more about the shared next-generation 911 system.

Brian Heaton  |  Senior Writer

Brian Heaton is a senior writer for Government Technology. He primarily covers technology legislation and IT policy issues. Brian started his journalism career in 1999, covering sports and fitness for two trade publications based in Long Island, N.Y. He's also a member of the Professional Bowlers Association, and competes in regional tournaments throughout Northern California and Nevada.