MAHONING VALLEY 911 READY FOR NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES
On Thursday we told you that neighboring Stark County, including Canton, are the first in the state of Ohio and the ninth in the country to enable the use of streaming video in real time from 911 callers.
So where does the Mahoning Valley stand when it comes to the latest 9-1-1 technology? Are video streaming and texting on the horizon?
A mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 left 32 dead, and according to Trumbull County's 911 Coordinator, Ernie Cook, it paved the way for changes and advances in how we contact 911.
"There were people underneath tables hiding there, texting 911, and all of those texts just kind of died in cyberspace. They didn't go anywhere," Cook said.
Fast forward 12 years and Stark County announces it's the first in the state to enable video streaming in real time, and messaging or online chatting from 911 callers.
It's part of what's called Next Generation 911 technology, and all the Mahoning Valley says they're ready for it.
Maggi McGee is Mahoning County's 911 Coordinator, "We are in the process literally right now of upgrading our entire 911 system countywide."
Trumbull and Mahoning County 911 Coordinators say they have to replace their equipment every 5 years or so, because technology moves faster than government. But the good news is, they're on the cusp.
"After October I'll have all the new 911 system in, and I'll have the voice loggers in. I'm going to start doing preparation for texting," McGee said.
And video streaming won't be far behind for Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties, all who say there are fewer landline phones, so keeping up with the constantly changing technology is critical.
"Now 80% of our calls are coming in on wireless. And we've seen that increase every year," Cook said.
Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties all say the hardware is in place to upgrade to the latest technology, they are just waiting for the state to secure a vendor that can help create a network, and enable them to stream video, photos and locate callers with pinpoint accuracy.