Tarrant County

Northeast Tarrant 911 Center Embraces Cutting Edge Technology

Calling 911 in Northeast Tarrant County is as easy as using an App.

The Northeast Tarrant Communications Center (NETCOM) is embracing the latest 911 technology, SirenGPS, an App that allows dispatchers to see a cell phone caller's exact location and other detailed information.

"We just feel this is the future of locating people," said Mark Witt, regional sales manager for SirenGPS.

"If somebody can't talk to us, or there's a language barrier, or they're just lost, this gives us a chance to find somebody faster and get them more efficient medical emergency (help) much quicker," said NETCOM 911 manager Warren Dudley.

NETCOM started using the system in December 2016, becoming the first 911 call center in the world to have it.

More than 10,000 people have signed up for SirenGPS since it became available in the four cities served by NETCOM - Keller, Westlake, Southlake and Colleyville.

In 2017, 312 people called 911 using the app.

"We’re seeing about a 95 percent success as far as locating somebody within 10 meters," said Witt. “We’re seeing great results when they call from their house because it will pin drop on their house.”

Calling 911 from a cellphone only provides dispatchers the caller's general vicinity, but using the SirenGPS app gives them the caller's precise location.

"There is no substitute for location when you're talking about response time," Witt said.

The GPS App can even help with troublesome "ghost" calls, providing 911 dispatchers critical information.

"If you had ghost calls or false calls, any of those things that would come in, this would separate that out and the dispatchers would be able to decipher what call is what," Dudley said. "And they would spend less time trying to figure out, 'Does this look like a duplicate call?' Because you can see those on the screen."

Operated by the city of Keller, NETCOM receives about 38,000 calls a year, serving the nearly 100,000 people who live in Keller, Southlake, Colleyville and Westlake.

In addition, as many as 750,000 drivers pass through the service area every day.

Keller paid $14,000 for the SirenGPS system, becoming the first 911 call center in the world to use it beginning in December.

"Life is priceless," Dudley said. "So if we can save one life with it, then it's worth every penny."

The City of Azle started using SirenGPS in July, 2017 and nearly 3,000 people have already signed up.

Of those, 44 have used the app to call 9-1-1.

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