|[January 15, 2013]
Anderson County Opens New 911 Unified Emergency Communications Center
GILBERT, S.C. --(Business Wire)--
In August 2012, the Anderson
County Emergency Services Division deployed Avtec's
Scout™ radio dispatch consoles to control emergency communications
across 780 square miles of mountainous terrain in the upstate region of
South Carolina. Its service area includes more than 300 square miles of
shoreline on Lake Hartwell and supports the region's nearly 200,000
residents. The call center answers more than 500,000 calls a year
because of its proximity to the I-85 Corridor, the region's terrain, and
accidents on Lake Hartwell, which is a major tourist attraction in the
"We handle calls about everything from heart attacks to gunshots, and
car accidents to hazardous chemical spills. We also support requests for
helicopter support and boat deployments on Lake Hartwell," said Deputy
Chief Taylor Jones, who oversees the Anderson
County Emergency Services Division.
Anderson County's new call center is the result of a catastrophic
lightning strike in July 2011 that struck two radio towers and damaged
80 percent of the center's equipment, causing nearly $3 million in
damage. A grand opening for the center took place on October 24.
"The cost to the taxpayers was zero," said Rusty Burns, Anderson
County's administrator. "We watched our pennies, we watched our dimes,
and the fiscal impact is that we saved the taxpayers hundreds of
thousands of dollars while providing our community with the best 911
center in the Southeast United States."
The project was funded trough the South Carolina Insurance Reserve
Fund, and is expected to save the county $191,000 annually, said Burns.
"911 centers have to work when nothing else does, so our biggest concern
was operational dependability. We conducted research across the nation
and chose Avtec consoles because of their reliability. With the new Scout
Voice over IP dispatch system, there are no single points of
failure," said Jones.
The Anderson County Emergency Services Division relies on 17 Scout
console workstations from Avtec to support radio communications for the
100 emergency services employees who staff the call center each day. An
additional four Scout workstations were installed in December of 2012,
and will be used for training and in emergencies, such as storms, when
extra dispatchers are called in to take 911 calls.
The Anderson County Sheriff's Department uses P25-compliant (Project 25)
Kenwood TK-5910 conventional radios that connect wirelessly to the
Palmetto 800 (PAL 800) radio system, offering full-featured control from
the Scout consoles. Built in the 1990s, PAL 800 is South Carolina's
statewide emergency communications system and is based on a Motorola (News - Alert) 800
MHz trunked network that has expanded into one of the largest systems in
the nation. It provides interoperable communications for nearly 500
state, county, and municipal agencies.
Captain Matthew Littleton manages the technical services department for
the Anderson County Emergency Services Division. He has served as a
member of the PAL 800 advisory committee and was instrumental in
defining the vision behind integrating the various technologies in a
safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner. "One of the big things we
wanted was to have a call center that was built on a true IP
architecture and open standards. This allowed us to do away with leased
phone lines, and put in our own private line, which will save our
taxpayers thousands of dollars each year," said Littleton.
"The Avtec Scout console provides our dispatchers with an easy-to-use,
completely customizable graphic user interface, which results in fewer
errors. This means that 911 calls get dispatched faster," said Steve
McDade, Anderson County 911 operations director. "In emergency settings,
you're always racing against time, so the faster we can dispatch, the
better the outcome. Avtec is the heartbeat of our center."
About the Anderson County 911 Unified Emergency Communications
Anderson County 911 Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a
week and is responsible for answering all 911 and non-emergency calls
for the citizens of Anderson County, S.C. Call center personnel also
dispatch police, sheriff, fire, highway patrol, and emergency medical
services for the cities and communities of Anderson, Belton, Honea Path,
Iva, Williamston and all rural areas of Anderson County. To learn more,
About Avtec, Inc.
Headquartered in South Carolina, Avtec, Inc. provides Internet Protocol
(IP) dispatch console solutions for the public
safety, transportation, utility, business and government markets.
For more than 30 years, customers have chosen Avtec's award-winning
technology for their mission-critical dispatch centers. There are
thousands of Scout Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) consoles
installed worldwide. Visit www.avtecinc.com
to learn more.
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