New wave of technology for Union County dispatch - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New wave of technology for Union County dispatch

UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - If you're in an emergency, calling for help is usually the first thing you would do.

Now, the place that answers that 911 phone call is making it even easier.

In Union County, calling for help could be as easy as sending a text message, a picture or a video right from your cell phone.

If there's a car accident on Route 51 in rural Union County, the call goes to the county dispatch center.

“The reality is sometimes you don't get a good signal where a voice call isn't possible but you can send a text message out,” said Chief Information Officer Rollie Hawk.

Now, a new age of emergency response is changing with a system called “Next Generation 911.”

Union County Chief Information Officer Rollie Hawk said it will help emergency crews get a better idea of how serious the situation is or how many first responders to send.

“With all sorts of emergencies, how can we use this time when we are in route to stay in communication and get as much information we can before we're on site,” says Hawk.

Hawk said Union County is one of only seven in Illinois to get the green light to start testing it out; and the possibilities are endless.

“Normally it would just be calls within the counties that would be handled but it something that could potentially help adjacent counties,” said Hawk.

The Union County Dispatch Center is currently in the process of testing the system.

It could take anywhere from six months to two years before it is up and running.

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