Return on 911 investments not always measured in dollars

Sandy Springs, Ga., Police Chief Terry Sult said investing in Smart911 to provide enhanced information to the regional 911 call answering centers was a no-brainer.

“For the limited amount of investment you put into it, why wouldn’t you do it?” Sult asked.

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Return on 911 investments not always measured in dollars

The hosted service from Rave Mobile Safety is inexpensive, has a low impact on local resources, requires a short learning curve for personnel, and is managed primarily by the people who register to provide additional personal information that can be associated with a phone number during an emergency call.

The service, which has been around for about two years, has been adopted in about 40 municipalities, including Nashville, Atlanta and Lexington, Ky. It costs from $3,000 to $8,000 per call-taker position, depending on the options selected. Finding the money for a new service can be difficult, said Rave chief product manager Todd Piett. “Budgets are tight everywhere.”

But money for emergency 911 services is generated through telephone surcharges, which are not as subject to economic fluctuations as general tax revenues. “Even in a tough economy, there can be some money available from these funds,” Piett said.

Having detailed information about a caller, family or residence available in an emergency situation can help improve response time whens seconds count, Sult said. “To me, it’s a no-brainer. No matter how many people use it, if it helps just one person, it has paid for itself.”

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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