ELKO COUNTY, Nev. -- Next Generation 9-1-1 went live Wednesday afternoon, May 20, in Elko and on Friday afternoon, May 22, in West Wendover. The successful cutover of these Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) serving as 9-1-1 call centers for the 6th largest county in the nation with a population traversing 17,000 square miles, to the new cloud-based NG9-1-1 Emergency Service Internet Protocol Network (ESInet) and Call Processing Equipment (CPE) solution marks the first of its kind. Elko County also moved from Basic 9-1-1 to NG9-1-1 with integrated location data, making this deployment even more remarkable.
The system replaces outdated 1960s technology, provides compatibility with the wireless world in which we live, reduces outages, and speeds emergency response times. The technology provided by NGA 911 and partner WestTel marks the nation's first future proof, reliable, and cyber secure cloud-based NG9-1-1 ESInet and CPE solution. The NGA 911 ESInet is an IP-based call routing service designed to streamline the route between the emergency and the response, providing an improved 9-1-1 experience on both sides of the call. The project went into planning with Winbourne Consulting late 2017, with an award made to NGA 911 in June 2019. The project remained on-schedule and on-budget, and the two PSAPs went live on Next Generation 9-1-1 in a matter of months.
With the NGA 911 ESInet and WestTel CPE, PSAPs have new capabilities such as more accurate call routing, and the ability to adjust service boundaries to handle unforeseen emergencies and unexpected call volumes. This is also the first and only NG9-1-1 solution in the U.S. to integrate and deliver location data with the 9-1-1 call to a PSAP and pin it on the call takers map.
"We are very excited about the new system and the added safety it brings to our community," said Heather Neilson with West Wendover Dispatch. "The system will enable us to process 9-1-1 calls directly from the caller without a transfer from another agency. This means we can get help to those in need much faster, and that means the world to our dispatchers. We are very thankful for the advancement our community has received and look forward to all it brings."
Residents and visitors can expect several changes over the next year, including the PSAP at Owyhee within the Duck Valley Indian Reservation coming online. In addition, features to provide greater situational awareness and capabilities, such as Text to 9-1-1, which is available with the technology today, depend on the integration and readiness of third-party providers before it will be available to the public. Residents and visitors can expect Text to 9-1-1 in six months. The addition of new functionality will not impact 9-1-1 service.
"As a Public Safety Answering Point, we should always try to keep up with new technology to better our Center," said the Director of the Elko Central Dispatch Administration, Donna Holladay. "This is a noteworthy upgrade to our 9-1-1 system and will eventually provide enhanced support to our dispatchers and first responders. While this is an evolutionary process, the Center in time, will have broader access to location information to assist first responders in the field and improve response times."
Holladay continued, "At this time, we would like to thank the E911 Board for putting this project into motion, the Elko County Emergency Manager for securing a grant that helped make it possible, NGA 911, WestTel, Winbourne Consulting, Eagle Communication, City of Elko IT and lastly the dispatchers who were willing to learn and use the new technology of NG9-1-1 so we can provide better service to the citizens of Elko County."
Simply put, Elko County is stepping into the future with new technology that will grow alongside the telecommunicators, promising better emergency response for residents and visitors for generations to come.