Dawson County Georgia Turns Up New Solacom NG9-1-1 System Days Before Deadly Winter Storm Hits

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The new system performed flawlessly as Dawson County public safety answering point kept pace with the flood of calls.

Capt. Debra Wimpy at her Guardian Mobile workstation

There were no glitches whatsoever, the system worked wonderfully.

Seven days after Dawson County, GA cut over to a Solacom Guardian Next Generation 9-1-1 call taking system, the public safety answering point (PSAP) put the new equipment through its paces answering triple the normal number of calls as a February snow storm swept across Georgia causing power outages and treacherous roadways.

Located in Dawsonville, Dawson County 9-1-1 answers calls and dispatches fire, police and emergency medical services for a population of 23,000 living throughout a 211-square-mile area in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. The facility selected the Solacom Guardian NG9-1-1 system to replace an aged TCI InVision controller that had been manufacture discontinued.

Captain Debra Wimpy, Director of the PSAP that includes 3 call taker answering positions, plus 2 backup positions, said they were still getting familiar with the brand new system when the storm hit. “It was great; there were no glitches whatsoever. The system worked wonderfully and we got the experience of seeing how the calls would be handled, how they would route with so many coming in, and how they would transfer here and there,” said Wimpy. “I had the backup laptop in my office with full access to the system – it was easy to answer and transfer calls to my dispatchers with one touch. It was very, very time efficient,” added Wimpy.

The PSAP is equipped with a Guardian NG9-1-1 controller and Guardian Intelligent Workstations (IWS) that provide state-of-the-art 9-1-1 functionality and a significant advance over the old system where transferring a call meant getting access to another line and dialing a ten-digit number. In fact, the Guardian system was such a step up from the old equipment that Wimpy had concerns about how quickly her staff would take to the new workstation. “The system and the user interface is so user-friendly that they did not hesitate at all. The training was excellent and everyone dived right in; I was impressed with how quickly they mastered it,” said Wimpy.

It’s not the first time a Solacom deployment has been tested early and often, Pike County PA moved into their new Guardian equipped PSAP two weeks before Hurricane Sandy swept through the state wreaking havoc. The system processed a month’s worth of 9-1-1 calls in two and a half days as the superstorm raged over the county.

Steven Craig, regional account manager at Solacom, attributes that robustness to careful planning and attention to detail before the equipment leaves the factory. “Deploying leading edge technology is challenging at the best of times so the more rigorously we can test and verify the system before it leaves the factory floor the greater the likelihood things will go smoothly at the customer end,” commented Craig.

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Robert Cassidy
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