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Electronic Maps Help Johnston County 911 Improve Response Time

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SMITHFIELD — Saving lives in Johnston County just got a whole lot easier. The county's 911 system has just converted to a computer-aided dispatch system, helping emergency crews get to calls much more quickly.

For the first time in its history, the 911 center has an electronic map that will pull up the pinpoint location of callers with emergencies.

"This is so much quicker for us," says Communications Director Al Gaskill. "Previously we just had to pull a map down that we had, a roll-up map in the ceiling, and had to trace it down on a map."

With all the new Johnston County subdivisions sprouting up, the electronic map is needed more than ever.

"You can spend 45 seconds to a minute just trying to find a subdivision, much less trying to get down and find a particular street," says Gaskill.

911 workers have spent the last six months implementing the $75,000 system. Rescue squads and firefighters throughout the county have already seen the benefits.

"With all the new developments around here and the increase in population we can't keep up with every house that goes in," says Benson paramedic Jason Thompson.

911 workers believe the quicker response time has already saved lives.

"If we don't save them and don't get them to a hospital, to a doctor, to a surgeon in a short amount of time, then that's their heart muscle dying or brain cells dying and they may end up with permanent or fatal damage," says Thompson.

It is damage the new mapping system is helping prevent.

911 workers have been testing the electronic mapping all week. It will be fully operational next week.


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