Raleigh and Wake Co. likely to upgrade emergency dispatch system

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) —  Wake County and the City of Raleigh are trying to update their 911 system.

The upgrade could get first responders to you faster.

During a 911 call, every minute can matter.

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Emergency responders say their current dispatch system is outdated and it’s time for an upgrade.

“In a medical emergency, seconds can save lives,” said Dominick Nutter.

Wake County’s computer-aided dispatch system looks for the closest ambulance when one is needed.

“Somebody’s in cardiac arrest, or if they’re choking, or having a severe asthma attack, something along those lines, it matters very much that we find the closest ambulance,” said Jeff Hammerstein with Wake County EMS.

But, the current system dates back to 2003.

“It is quite a long time with technology,” Nutter said.

That’s why leaders in Wake County and Raleigh are considering an upgrade.

The county’s 911 center dispatches almost 1,400 calls a day. And, the new system is expected to do a better job of finding the closest vehicle to get to people in case of an emergency.

Even after an ambulance is on the way, the new system will keep looking for others that may end up closer.

That doesn’t happen automatically right now.

Wake County commissioners approved an agreement Monday with the City of Raleigh that will split the cost for an updated system.

“It will enable us to add more tools to enhance coordinated response between multiple agencies,” Nutter said.

Raleigh City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the same agreement Wake County approved tonight.

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