Cellular technology keeps Johnston County 911 center up and running at all times
Posted March 20, 2015
Smithfield, N.C. — Trying to keep up with continued growth and call volume, the Johnston County 911 center recently upgraded its phone system to replace old copper wires with Internet-based service.
It also added wireless capabilities, making sure that severe weather or construction accidents don't ever keep the center from taking emergency calls.
Jason Barbour, the Johnston County 911 director, said his staff answers 400 to 500 emergency calls per day and another 1,000 to 1,500 administrative calls.
"We've added wireless IP connectivity, or what most people refer to as 4G LTE technology," he said.
If the wired system ever goes down, the cellular-based system, which costs about $2,000 a month, kicks in automatically so the center can keep taking calls.
Barbour says his staff has repeatedly tested the new system.
"We didn't lose any telephone calls, and that's great. That's outstanding technology for the citizens to be able to rely on," he said.
Barbour said he believes Johnston County is the first 911 center in the nation to make the switch. He said it should give residents a sense of security.
"When they're in their greatest time of need, the 911 center in Johnston County will be on line," he said.
Barbour said the 4G upgrades are also paving the way for future updates, even technology that will allow callers to send pictures and video of emergencies to the 911 center.