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Southlake Style

Local Dispatch Center First in U.S. to use new Life-saving Tool

Jan 08, 2017 12:57PM ● By Kevin
People calling 911 from Keller, Colleyville, Southlake and Westlake are now encouraged to call 911 using the SirenGPS mobile app, according to a December press release by the city of Keller. SirenGPS is a St. Louis-based company that has created a technology to offer dispatchers who serve nearly 98,000 people pinpointed location data for more than 90 percent of calls.

Keller became the first emergency dispatch center in the U.S. to utilize the app, which is being called the "Uber for 911," and could save more than 10,000 per year, according to FCC studies.

The current process dictates that location information for cell phone calls to 911 often shows up as the cell tower being pinged, according to the release. "Dispatchers can then retransmit their location request, which can improve results — but FCC criteria updated in 2015 require that cell phone carriers meet a standard of delivering a 'dispatchable' location for only 40 [percent] of cell phone calls by 2017."

The FCC defines “dispatchable” as a location accurate to within 50 meters, which is further complicated by the majority of calls to 911 being made from indoors.

"When someone calls 911 from SirenGPS, the app generates a 911 call just like calling from the dial pad and additionally uses the internet to deliver a '911 call event,'" the release states. "Because the two are sent through parallel delivery systems, the 'call event' can reach dispatch even when cell service has been knocked out."

Dispatchers receive the caller’s location alongside any other profile information they’ve chosen to provide, including important medical history and emergency contacts. Users also indicate whether they need police, fire or EMS when they call. That information is delivered in real time not only to dispatch operators, but also to active police and fire units in the field.

In addition to 911 locating services, the city of Keller will transition its emergency mass notification system to the SirenGPS platform. "Emergency notification subscribers may continue to receive alerts via phone, email and text, and app users will also begin receiving emergency communications via optional push notifications," the release said. "Users will additionally have the new ability to respond to those alerts via text, corresponding with emergency officials in group or private chats."

The Northeast Tarrant Communications Center is a regional 911 dispatch serving nearly 98,000 people in the cities of Keller, Colleyville, Southlake and Westlake. NETCOM 9-1-1 started in 2007 as a partnership between the cities of Southlake and Keller, which has provided police services to the Town of Westlake since 2003. The City of Colleyville joined the partnership in 2009. Housed at the Keller Police Station at 330 Rufe Snow Drive, NETCOM was the first regional dispatch of its kind in Tarrant County. Through the end of October, NETCOM has answered more than 36,018 emergency calls in 2016. 

How to Register

1. Download the SirenGPS application on your smartphone

2. Create an account

3. Join the your city's community, which will allow you to receive local emergency alerts

4. Fill out your profile to provide additional health information or emergency contacts to dispatchers

5. When you need help, call 911 through the SirenGPS app (it’s fewer clicks than a normal call)

Information courtesy of the city of Keller