The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

January 8, 2014

Enid City Commissioners to provide 911 service for the citizens of Major County

ENID, Okla. — Enid City Commissioners took a big step Tuesday in improving emergency services in northwest Oklahoma.

Commissioners approved a series of contract amendments with AT&T and Pioneer Telephone so the city’s dispatchers can provide 911 service to Major County.

The Enhanced 911 system will connect Garfield County dispatchers with their peers in Major County after taking the initial call.

After the system is activated, callers will first be directed to the 911 center in Enid, then transferred to Major County for further dispatch.

Dispatchers also will be able to pinpoint the location of each caller on a computer screen.

Major County soon will transition to the Enhanced 911 system, which will improve service dramatically.

Under basic 911, which is what Major County currently has, a caller seeking emergency help must provide his or her phone number and location to the dispatcher.

That can be a potentially dangerous problem if the caller is unable to speak or is not aware of his or her location because the dispatcher cannot tell where to send emergency services.

Under Enhanced 911, or E911, the caller’s telephone number and physical address automatically are provided to the dispatcher.

The reason calls will be sent to Garfield County first, is because the two counties have an agreement by which Major County will be able to utilize Garfield County’s 911 equipment for a fee, thereby avoiding the hefty equipment and start-up costs for E911.

That makes sense, since Garfield County already has the equipment in place.

The fee paid by Major County will offset the added expense Garfield County will assume for responding to more 911 calls.

The move to E911 will boost emergency services for Major County.

We’re glad to see it happen, and we’re glad to see the two counties working together to improve emergency services.

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