Surry County Testing New 911 Call System

May 3, 2011

Surry County communications operators are testing a developing 911 call system to improve emergency response networks. A grant program is funding a test system called Next Generation 911 from Greensboro-based Synergem Emergency Services. Surry County communications director Roger Shore says the system allows 911 operators to field calls more efficiently.

Roger Shore: "At one location, they will receive calls for several counties and if there's a problem with any of those locations, they can re-route those calls to another center as a backup or allow us to be able to be a little more versatile in the way that we would handle our call routing."

Shore says that also allows law enforcement to receive calls from the site of larger or high-risk emergencies. Synergem officials say they are also developing a system that would receive emergency text messages. The Winston-Salem Police Department is the only other municipality participating in the grant program, which ends next month. The 911 network would go live next year if communications officials approve it.