July 9, 2008

Five Cities Test New 911 System

A new national emergency system that takes advantage of the latest technology is being tested in five cities across the United States, officials say.

The system allows communications with police and other emergency personnel by text message or through Voice over Internet Protocol and also makes use of navigation services, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Under the system, emergency personnel will be able to pin down the location of calls from a wireless network more quickly and reroute calls if an emergency center becomes incapacitated.

Linda Dodge, a public safety coordinator with the U.S. Department of Transportation, told USA Today the government has spent $5.6 million on the project, most of it for research.

Officials estimate it could take eight to 10 years before all of the nation's 911 centers have been upgraded to the new technology.

Cities testing the system are Rochester, N.Y.; Bozeman, Mont.; King County, Wash.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Fort Wayne, Ind.