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Saturday, May 11, 2013

9 County Next Generation 911 System Goes Live In Cameron & Elk Counties

Nine County Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project Goes “Live”

In a cost savings and redundancy of services effort, nine counties in Northern Pennsylvania worked together to upgrade to a Next Generation 911 Telephony System and a diverse and redundant Fiber Network. 

The counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean and Warren have worked together as one entity to create a regional network and improve technology and operations while saving costs to their individual counties. 

Implementation of this project started with Cameron and Elk Counties going live on the system May 1, 2013.  

Clearfield and Jefferson County will be the next two counties to go live on May 15, 2013 and May 16, 2013. All counties will be live by June 30, 2013.

The average cost for replacement of a single county 9-1-1 telephony system would have been $394,875.00 (total combined cost to all the counties would have been $3,159,000.00). The average yearly maintenance for each county would have been $45,242.69. On the new system the average county shared cost is $162,513.09 ($1,300,104.72 total for the region). The average yearly maintenance per county is $21,730.12.

These nine counties all received notice from their current telephony switch manufacture about the end of life for their legacy era 911 telephony switches. In determination to provide the best 911 redundant response, they began the process with MCM Consulting Group, Inc. (MCM), of McMurray, PA in January 2011. MCM reviewed their systems which lacked redundancy and were not interconnected or capable of Next Generation 911. Therefore, the counties could not transfer 911 calls between counties with automatic location identification or automatic number identification.

The Northern Tier entered into agreements with Cassidian Communications, Inc. out of Temecula, California, for the Next Generation 911 (NG911) Telephony System and Zito Media for the IP fiber network. The system design includes a Cassidian Geo-Diverse Vesta 4.0 Next Generation 911 telephony system, with one NG911 switch located in the Windstream territory, and the second NG911 switch located in the Verizon territory. Each switch is capable of running the entire network in the event of a failure of the other switch. Each county is connected to switches on diverse and redundant fiber paths.

For added redundancy to the system, all of the county 911 trunks are directed to the Verizon Tandems. From the tandems, one half of the counties 911 trunks are connected to the switch in Elk County and the other half are connected to the Clearfield County switch. Also in an effort to reduce costs, non-emergency and administrative telephone lines connect to the individual county workstations at the public-safety answering point level.

This system is also capable of providing transport and connectivity for systems including but not limited to: computer aided dispatch; graphical information systems; radio interoperability system; and emergency management functions, including interfacing with a State-wide emergency services IP network (ESInet).

What does this mean for the general public? If a 911 Center’s phone service is down, for whatever reason, in one county, your 911 phone call will not go unanswered. Someone from another county will pick up that call, providing necessary emergency information to the caller; while still being able to send information to the dispatchers in the county in which the call originated, with all of the necessary location and number identification – in one fluid motion between counties.

Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project Has Added Benefit for Cameron County Residents

 There is an added benefit of the Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project to Cameron County residents living in the northern part of RT 872 (First Fork Road) and the phone exchange of 647. These residents will now have their 911 calls go directly to Elk County 911. Previously, the calls went to Tioga County 911 and Tioga County had to manually transfer these calls to Elk County 911. With this change Elk County will now be able to see all of the callers information so that the dispatcher can locate the caller on the map and direct the emergency service provider to the right location.

All of Cameron County’s 911 trunks are now directed to the Verizon Tandems which in turn “selectively route” these calls to the correct 911 center, therefore reducing call processing time and decreasing emergency response times for 911 callers.


Anonymous said...

Would have been nice if Potter County could have gotten involved with this project. But no, we seem to be endlessly tied to Tioga county and stuck doing things their way even when it isn't what's best for Potter County. But then, what else is new.....

Anonymous said...

Potter County is a money pit!!!