UNDATED -- A busy signal, or nothing at all. That's not what you want to hear when you call 911. But things happen. WFMY News 2 has reported when 911 centers, fire departments, police stations, etc have technical problems and can't take calls.Governor Pat McCrory's office says last year, 21 of the state's 127 Public Safety Answering Points (911 centers) experienced outages last year.
The governor's office says those outages resulted in 62 hours where residents didn't have 911 service. That may not seem like a lot in the span of the 8,765 hours in a year. But if you had an emergency in that time, it could be the difference between life and death.
Melanie Neal, Operations Manager, Guilford Metro 911 said, "Anytime you have the potential for a natural disaster to completely wipe out a building you're currently occupying, you need to have a backup facility that you can go to and be back up and running again."
So today, Governor McCrory signed Senate Bill 797 into law. It requires every 911 center have a backup plan! The plan would mean the center could re-direct calls even if there's a problem at the main center, so people can still get help. Right now, only 26 of the state's 127 centers have a backup plan in place. Guilford County is one of them. The rest have until July 1, 2016 to get a backup in place.
How will all these new centers be paid for? Well, the state will pay for some. Neal said, "The 911 board will fund certain portions of the backup facility. The will I think fund brick and mortar parts to build it and then there are pieces and parts within the center that they will fund, and that's done through surcharge dollars." Surcharge dollars?That's you and I. We pay a few cents on our phone bills every month.