More than four months since coming on stream, the territory’s next-generation 911 emergency call centre is still not fully functional.
That is according to Project Manager at the Peebles Hospital based-centre, Russell Jones.
He told BVI News yesterday (June 27), there are a number of areas which still need to be addressed before the system truly becomes state-of-the-art, and fully functional.
“The system is not a hundred percent. We are still working off emergency mode since we were forced into action by the hurricanes before the formal contract signing and the full system was installed.”
“So, we are on a very scaled down version of the 911 [system]. It is nowhere it’s envisioned to be. But it is semi-functional and we can route calls through it.”
Upon competition, the technology is expected to surpass ‘most states in the US’, in terms of technological sophistication.
The system will have what is known as a ‘global positioning mapping system’ that will indicate the location of any caller.
That information would then be turned over to an emergency responder in the field.
Jones said they are waiting on the local telecommunications providers to ‘get their act together’ in order for the mapping system to be initiated.
The three main telecoms providers in the territory are Flow, CCT, and Digicel.
“One of the three have given us the right type of connection to be able to do that. The other two are close,” he said.
Jones said another setback to getting the system fully operational has to do with hiring staff with the requisite training to handle life and death situations and other emergencies that may come through the system.
The system is now being manned by three main emergency service providers – police, fire officers, and health service workers. They operate on shifts.
The 9-1-1 initiative was the brainchild of Health Minister, Ronnie Skelton.
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