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Small Rural County Puts NG 911 into Action Immediately

The very day that Guernsey County, Ohio, went live with its next-generation 911 system, the featured live video feed helped the dispatcher and a mother save her son, who was having a seizure.

911 emergency dispatcher
Guernsey County, Ohio can be considered a small, rural county by virtue of its two-person 911 center, but it also has the distinction in the state was the one rural county with two interstate highways, with lots of out-of-towners moving through.

That can mean some bad accidents like the recent one that Guernsey County Commissioner, Dave Wilson referred to when discussing the value of the county’s new Carbyne Next-Generation 911 deployment.

The accident happened when a Toyota Corolla crossed the median line and struck a commercial truck. Unfortunately, the driver was deceased, but the passenger was still alive but pinned as the dispatcher could see from the live video feed he got from the cell phone of a passerby who quickly called 911, and was given a link to transmit the video.

From the video, the dispatcher immediately knew to send the Department of Transportation, State Patrol, fire, police, and emergency medical to the scene and alert them of details that they would find when they got there.

Without the Next-Gen 911 deployment and the live feed, the dispatcher would have to rely on a description from the witness on the scene and those can be way off at times. In this case the eyes of the dispatcher saw that the situation was dire and even tried to get aircraft to the scene, but the weather was bad.

“The woman that made the initial 911 call was incredibly level-headed and was very methodically showing on her smartphone exactly what was going on,” Wilson said. “It was clear that the passenger was pinned and so they had to get the fire department out there with the jaws of life.”

So as one dispatcher stayed in touch with the caller, the other dispatcher went about notifying first responders and other resources of the incident.

“This is going to benefit our citizens and first responders and citizens traveling through—the live feed that we get in itself is going to save lives,” said sheriff Jeff Paden.

In fact, another incident occurred on the first day the system went live. A frantic mother called 911 to report that her son was on the ground and gasping for air. The dispatcher, seeing the live feed, identified the problem as a seizure the young man was having and was able to talk mother through the steps to clear his airway and get him breaching again.

“I feel that if we would have had a lesser system, where we would not have been able to see, time would have been crucial,” Wilson said.

An inferior system is what they had before, basically running off of copper wire to receive 911 calls with no Esinet.

The new system provides the video capabilities, silent texting, instant geolocation and other services on their way, including the ability to transmit the live feed to first responders, which is being worked out now.

Wilson said the financing mostly came from the existing budget, although staff worked creatively to make it happen. He credited the sheriff’s department and dispatch team for researching and finding a system and vendor that fit the county’s needs.

“The Carbyne people and our 911 Center worked together and were able to put together a system that was affordable for us and was everything we really wanted,” Wilson said.