WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) - Almost exactly six years ago, a person from Arbor Lake Apartments on Byron Center Avenue called 911 about a fire. But the call was transferred several times, and a man died during the delay in sending firefighters.
That won't happen anymore.
Tuesday, the Grand Rapids Dispatch Center's computer-aided dispatch system went online, the same system that went online in Kent County last week.
Now, even if a 911 cell phone call goes to the wrong tower in Kent County, it will get sent to the correct dispatch center.
That can happen several times a day, a small fraction of the 280,000 calls to 911 each year handled by the two dispatch centers combined.
"They'll see an improvement in time. They'll see maybe a one- or two-minute improvement in time-in-call processing," said Chief Deputy Michelle Young of the Kent County Sheriff's Department. "That's time saved and in an emergency, time saved helps save lives."
The county's dispatch authority is using money from a 45-cents-a-month surcharge customers pay on their phone bills. The software cost $2.5 million.
"What we're trying to do is to simplify the process, plain and simple. Get the call to the place it needs to go as fast as possible," dispatch supervisor Matt Groesser told 24 Hour News 8.
Officials hoped this system would go online more than a year ago, but the system is complicated and took more time than expected, they said.
One more big advantage to this system is that dispatch centers can track most police cars and many fire trucks in real time through GPS. They are working to be able to track ambulances.
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