Board approves new technology for Central County Emergency 911
By: Jim Erickson
With major portions of its dramatic expansion program already in place and the likelihood that additional pieces will be added soon, the Central County Emergency 911 Board of Directors is taking steps to handle the growth.
At its Feb. 11 meeting, the Board approved the purchase of computers, modems and address verification services with overall price tags that could total several million dollars.
The purchase includes up to 350 rugged Panasonic laptop computers from CDW-G at a cost of $3,846 each, or a maximum total of $1.346 million. The unit price includes a three-year protection plan. Also approved was the purchase of up to 350 InMotion modems designed for in-vehicle use for $1,843 each, including annual support services, for a total of some $645,000.
Accessories for both the computers and modems could boost the overall outlay considerably higher. However, a grant from the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS) could reduce Central County’s outlay for modems. STARRS is an organization developed to coordinate planning and response for major emergencies in the bistate metropolitan region.
In addition, the Board approved a $325,000 contract with Mid-West GIS to collect 911 addressing data for areas that Central County will be serving. According to the Mid-West GIS website, the project will cover some 3,500 miles of streets and roads in the metropolitan area and work began the day after the board acted on the contract.
GIS is an acronym for geographic information system. GIS data in Central County’s computer-assisted dispatching system facilitates a rapid response to emergency 911 calls.
As previously reported, the expansion could mean the Ellisville-based operation will be dispatching fire and emergency medical units serving most of St. Louis County and portions of Jefferson and Franklin counties by the end of the year.
Most of the fire protection districts now served by the South County Fire Alarm dispatch center in Mehlville have signed agreements for Central County’s services in the wake of South County’s announcement that it would cease operations as of July 1. The only holdouts – Eureka Fire Protection District and city of Crestwood’s fire department – are working on details of similar contracts now.
Central County also is the potential provider of dispatch services for the 17 fire and emergency medical operations now using the North Central Fire Alarm operation in St. John. Contract discussions with those entities already are under way.