GUILFORD COUNTY, NC -- When thief breaks into your house or a loved-one is having a medical emergency, every second counts that's why Guilford Metro 911 says it has spent $16,000 on a new program that will allow 911 operators to cut down on the time it takes to dispatch a First Responder.
Christine Moore, operations manager for Guilford Metro 911 explains not only will the new interface save lives but reduce the number of calls 911 operators receive by about 20,000 a year.
This should potentially free up the emergency lines and get local residents help much faster.
"If you're talking about a fire, you're talking about saving structure, you're talking about saving resources. If you're talking about medical calls you're talking about saving lives. You can't put prices on that," said Moore.
According Moore, it takes anywhere between 11/2 minutes to 3 minutes between the time a medical, fire or burglar alarm goes off to the time a First Responder is dispatched.
First, the phone rings, and then the 911 operator some time gathering information.
"You ask for the address, telephone number, the nature of the call and then you're asking a series of questions based on what type of call it is: If it's a fire call, burglar alarm or if it's a medical need," Moore explained.
That's just the beginning.
The operator then has to put that information into the system, and then potentially have to call back to the alarm company if there are further questions.
Sometimes it takes up to four extra calls before help is on the way.
Moore says in light of that, the county recently decided to make the interface purchase. The ASAP (Automated Secure Alarm Protocol) to PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) interface automatically inputs victims' information into the 911 database and eliminates the need for phone calls between the alarm company and the 911 operators.
Moore says the lag time between call and dispatch becomes just about 15 seconds long.
"That's crucial and makes a lot of difference," Jerry Kidd, a homeowner reacted to the information. "I think it would be a lot better. I really do because that means once the alarm goes off you're going to get help no matter what you need quicker."
Guilford County is only one of two 911 centers with this technology in the entire state of North Carolina and only one of 13 in the entire country.
Right now, the system only works with Vector but Moore says engineers are working to get all the other major alarm systems companies on board.
Moore stresses this not only helps homeowners with security alarm systems but also helps everyone within the county because the phone lines will eventually be freed of the alarm company-911 calls.
But remember, Guilford Metro 911 says it's still best to call 911 during an emergency even if your alarm is going off. Don't rely on just the alarm company making the call. In a medical emergency, for example, 911 operators can help you over the phone, while First Responders are on the way.