New technology makes 911 easier to contact - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

New technology makes 911 easier to contact

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Sioux Falls 911 call center gets 85,000 calls a year.

But their technology is from the '70s and '80s.

A new proposal will update that technology.

"Right now you can only do it via telephone in the future once we have this system in place, things like text message, pictures, videos, those things will really become a venue for the citizens to interact with 911 centers throughout South Dakota." said Daren Ketcham with Metro Communications.

He added by sending a picture you can help the dispatchers send the right amount of first responders, "So if there is a car accident right away we receive a picture or a video we can send that to the first responders that are going to it so they know what they are getting into before they even arrive."

And in return, help the patients.

"I believe the new technology will help make a difference in someone's life. We'll be there quicker to do an assessment to do treatment that type of thing." said Scott Christensen with Rural/Metro Ambulance.

He said each bit of information they get before arriving can save a life, "I can see in certain situations that can be helpful. Certain motor vehicle accidents, you can tell a lot from picture and you could tell if you needed to ask for more help."

Ketcham added the first responders will be safer too, "Right now you don't necessarily know what you're getting into if you hear that there's a car accident or there's flames or smoke coming from a vehicle, you don't really know how bad it is."

The new system will take 911 to the next level.

"It kind of completes the loop from the general public to the first responders in the field."

Ketcham said being able to text 911 for help will especially benefit people with disabilities or people who are choking.

He says it'll be about 10 years before it is national, so South Dakota is really on the forefront of this technology.

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