NG 9-1-1 would provide better compatibility with cell phones, smart watches, and even home security systems.
By Paige Falk
The 911 systems across Ohio are soon to be upgraded to match the evolution of the rapid growing technology in today’s world.
Kathleen Madden, Ohio Director of Administrative Services, visited Hancock county to discuss Gov. Mike DeWine’s Secure Ohio Initiative plan. According to Madden, it has been a topic of discussion for years now to upgrade the current 911 system to the next generation system.
“911 Next Generation system is the future,” Madden said. “It will help local law enforcement and first responders get to the location faster.”
According to Madden, Ohio’s current system uses antiquated copper line technology. Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) moves 9-1-1 technology and infrastructure to digital, internet-protocol technology, to improve speed and effectiveness according to the Ohio 9-1-1 Program Office housed within the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS).
The governor’s 2024-2025 budget invests $45.9 million for NG 9-1-1. Updates to the 911 system include more compatibility with cell phones, rather than landlines. It will also even allow users to contact 911 via text, smart watches, and other wearable technology and vehicles.
“Especially for situations of domestic violence, where a victim may not be able to talk on the phone, but can text,” Gov. DeWine said.
The N 9-1-1 system will be able to pinpoint a person’s location within feet of where they are while using a cell phone.
DeWine states that in addition to mobile phones and smart watches, 911 will be able to get information from home security systems and vehicle systems.
“These systems can provide 911 with significant information, such as the temperature of rooms in a fire situation, if an airbag was deployed in a car and even vital signs from a smart watch,” DeWine said.
Rob Jackson, the 911 Administrator of Ohio states that Findlay is in good shape for the new system.
“Hancock county is going to be able to connect with this new system without some of the huge challenges that some of the more rural counties have,” Jackson said.
“Everything is working good. I know the system has been upgraded, plugged in, and pretty much ready to go.”
The governor presented the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 budget to the Ohio General Assembly on Jan. 31. It’s currently in the House of Representatives and should make it’s way to the Ohio Senate in mid-April.