Spokane County’s 911 staff will soon grow, in order to speed up answering time. Paige Browning reports six call receivers will join the call center in the new year.
Spokane County 911 answers 95 percent of calls in 20 seconds or less. 911 director Lorlee Mizell says their goal is to answer 98 percent of calls in that time.
Mizell: “We need more call takers during what’s called a power shift, which basically staggers those calls takers from 9AM up through the early evening hours so our biggest peak periods are covered.”
911 currently has 45 call takers on staff.
County 911 also hopes to adopt a next generation 911 system that would have capabilities for text, pictures, and video.
“The biggest thing is the hearing impaired and speech impaired that really need to be able to communicate from their smart phones," Mizell says. "Right now the technology they have to communicate with us is old.”
Mizell says King County will be ready for texting in 2013, and she is applying for it now with hopes to have the system in place in August, 2013.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio