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Ingham County makes upgrades to 911 central dispatch system

Sirens activated on a police cruiser.
Scott Rodgerson

Ingham County 911 Central Dispatch is upgrading its system to make it easier for first responders to locate a caller during a crisis.

When a person calls 911 in Ingham County, the central dispatch system will now be utilizing Rapid SOS. The software allows emergency responders to better pinpoint the location of a caller.

Central Dispatch Director Barb Davidson says this will help responders provide support faster than ever before.

“The caller location information we're able to get is a ... it's a lot better than some of the information we can get from the cell phone providers. And anytime, seconds can save lives in an emergency response," she said.

Callers can also provide more information to a responder by setting up a medical ID on their phone.

Another upgrade to the central dispatch system is the use of an app called "what3words."
Davidson says the software divides the world into square areas that are 10 feet by 10 feet in size and assigns each area three words.

"You can call me on 911 and say to me, ‘ I have no idea where I am, but I'm on a trail.' I can text you a link, the caller then, if they will allow it, can allow GPS services from their phone and they can send us back their three words," she explained.

From there, dispatch would be able to find where the call is coming from and direct responders to the area.

Davidson says a caller has to opt in to sharing their location by clicking a link shared during the call.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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