New 911 System in Kanawha County Quickens Emergency Response Time

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A new 911 system in Kanawha County is helping shave minutes off emergency response time.

To the tune of $1.12 million, it’s the most high-tech one in the state.

The system was launched two weeks ago, and dispatchers say the fact that it's already helping save lives makes it worth every penny.

A lot goes into Garrett Chain's job as a dispatcher, but the new system is making it much easier.

“Everything runs out of this one program now,” Chain said.

Integrating four systems into one means when you call 911, dispatchers can get help to you much faster.

Just last week, it helped save a woman's life.

“She was trying to get help, yelling for help. She was also trying to get away from the man who was attacking her,” Chain said. “In this instance, it's not logical to think she'll be calm and rational and give us the information we need to get to her.”

The new system immediately tracked her cell phone and sent it to a map in a matter of seconds.

There was no delay getting police to the scene, who were able to arrest the accused attacker before things got worse.

The updated maps also allows dispatchers to zoom in and look for hazardous items like propane tanks, so they can alert responders like firefighters before it's too late.

“It does help in the grand scheme of things of making our responses safer and faster,” South Charleston Assistant Fire Chief Virgil White said.

Because when seconds count, a few minutes can mean everything.

“In a cardiac arrest, that's life or death. In an unresponsive patient who's not getting oxygen, that is permanent brain damage,” Chain said. “In a structure fire it could be the difference of getting a child out of the house or not.”

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