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Grant will fund upgrades to Middlesex’s E-911 system

Middlesex County will receive a no-match $150,000 grant from the Virginia E-911 Services Board to pay for new phones and upgrades of the county’s new E-911 phone system.

Middlesex County Emergency Services Director David Layman informed the board of supervisors at its August 7 meeting the funds will cover the entire cost for new “call handling equipment” and “upgrades.” The cost of the project is about $143,000 with a little over $6,000 left from the grant to offset associated costs, said Layman. 

Assistant county administrator Betty Muncy clarified that the phones and service will have to be first paid for by the county, and the grant will then reimburse the county.

Dispatcher supervisor Eileen Koehl said the current phones are outdated and unsupported by proper security backups. The new system will allow dispatchers to take calls by text as well as by phone, she said. “This is an important service to our citizens,” she said. “If there is an emergency where the person is unable to talk on the phone they will be able to text instead.

“One reason this new system is so important is that it creates less environmental stress for our dispatchers,” said Koehl. “There is a lot of stress with being a dispatcher. The new system will help them do their job better.”

“It is very rewarding to me to see the advances that we are now making with our E-911 system,” Holt said.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 08.29.2018

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