The U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Transportation have awarded North Dakota’s 911 system $1,473,805 as part of the 911 Grant Program to help 911 call centers upgrade to Next Generation 911 capabilities.
North Dakota’s 22 call centers have been in the process of transitioning to NG911 over the past five years. This grant will help fund the next phase of enhancements to upgrade equipment and operations so that citizens, first responders and 911 call-takers can use digital IP-based, broadband-enabled technologies to coordinate emergency response.
“The $1.4 million in grant funding will absolutely have an impact on modernizing our 911 system so that citizens, first responders and dispatchers can use today’s technology in coordinating emergency response,” said North Dakota NG911 Program Manager Jason Horning. “This will enable the state to continue leading the nation on NG911. North Dakota will be one of the first states to have an IP-based network from caller to dispatcher. That achievement is on the heels of North Dakota being the sixth state in the country to implement a statewide text-to-911 program.”
There are three specific plans for the next phase of enhancements to NG911 in North Dakota. The first includes the implementation of advanced GIS mapping systems that will make it easier to identify a 911 caller’s location. The second will create IP connections to our state’s telecommunications service providers.
“This feature will set the foundation for citizens to share pictures and videos with dispatchers in the future, expanding on the text-to-911 service currently available in North Dakota.” Horning added, “Imagine the impact a picture or video will have in relaying information to first responders.”
Thirdly, the funding will assist in dispatcher training. “Our dispatchers are handling more information than ever before and that will only increase going forward. We need to make sure they have the training they need to do their job effectively and efficiently,” said Karen Kempert, 911 coordinator in Cavalier County.
The 911 Grant Program awarded a total of $109 million to 34 states and two tribal nations. The state has three years to use the grant funds.