Local News

Wake First Responders to Get High-Tech Help

Posted January 9, 2007 9:57 a.m. EST
Updated January 9, 2007 11:30 a.m. EST

— First responders need all the help they can get to reach the scene as quickly as possible. Wake County has a plan to modernize the way emergency units are dispatched so gravel time is as short as can be.

County officials are trying to improve response times with a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system in the vehicles of first responders. The tracking units are already installed in all crime scene investigation vehicles. The county's ambulances will soon get GPS technology, and sheriff's cars will follow.

"We hope it'll shorten our response time and always make sure that the closest ambulance is dispatched to the emergency," said Wake County EMS Chief Skip Kirkwood.

Officials said GPS is the only way to get an exact location for every unit.

"There are in excess of 30 ambulances on duty at any one time in Wake County," Kirkwood said. "If you had to go on the radio and say, 'Where are all of you right now,' it would take some time. It would delay the dispatch."

GPS units are also being installed in 182 Wake County sheriff 'sOffice vehicles.

"We can look up on a screen and see where all of our cars are, and I can also know where all of our cars are to see if they're riding or sitting still and all, so it's got a lot of advantages," Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Wake County landed a $200,000 federal grant to pay for the new system. It should be up and running within 90 days.