Brentwood is the first community in Tennessee to plug into the state’s Next Generation 911 network. Most of what’s new about the system is behind the scenes, but it could lead to big changes for 911 users in the future
911 call centers have a tendency to get overwhelmed during severe weather or other natural disasters. Lynn Questell of the state’s Emergency Communications Board says the new system will allow emergency responders to deal with those situations more efficiently.
They will be able to plan out, under situation A we want our calls re-routed to this place. That will be automatically pre-programmed in if there’s overflow or anything like that.
911 first came about in the 60s. Over the years there have been piecemeal improvements to allow calls from cellphones and voice over IP. The new system puts everyone on the same footing, allowing all of the states 911 centers to accept calls from any type of phone.
Next Generation 911 should be available statewide by 2014
The system does have the ability to accept text messages and pictures from smart phones. But that capability isn’t available just yet. 911 officials still need to adopt standards for how to deal with those messages.