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Ohio Introduces Next Generation 911 Geo-Tracking System

Ohio’s 911 system is about to be brought into the 21st century, joining a growing number of states that have replaced decades-old emergency response systems with modern technology, reports. The statewide shift to the internet-based Next Generation 911 (NG911) program will create a centralized data system that will provides dispatchers with more accurate caller location information, additional communication avenues and other new features. It all works together to reduce response time – by seconds or even minutes. “It doesn’t take much imagination to think of any number of emergencies in which that amount of time makes a big difference,” said Angie Canepa, deputy director of first responder communications initiatives in Ohio’s 911 office. “This is going to save lives.”

One of the most important upgrades is the integration of precise and robust geo-tracking data. Currently, when a call comes in from a cellphone, dispatchers receive location information from either the closest cell tower or, in some cases, from the phone itself. That data is often inaccurate. The NG911 system will allow dispatchers to see the caller’s exact location on a map, and even which floor they are on in a multi-story building. And in instances when the caller is moving, the program will track the vehicle’s route. The technology behind NG911 also gives dispatchers and callers new ways to communicate, expanding beyond voice communication to allow details to be shared through text, photo and video. Canepa said the upgraded location data should help to ensure calls are routed to the correct emergency response center. In situations where the caller needs to be transferred, all of those details will transition seamlessly to the next dispatcher without the caller having to start their story over again.


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