Fulton County residents now have the capability to dial three digits instead of a seven-digit number for an emergency.
The Basic 9-1-1 service became effective Sept. 11 after CenturyTel contacted David Keck, Fulton County 9-1-1 coordinator, Sept. 9 and told him that all telephone carriers were required to make 9-1-1 available to everyone in the United States as part of the Homeland Security Bill.
Keck said the public needs to be aware the basic service is the same as it has always been when dialing the sheriff's office. If two calls are made at the same time the second caller will get a busy signal.
The caller needs to know his correct 9-1-1 address. If he doesn't know or is unsure he needs to call the 9-1-1 office at 895-2237.
The Basic 9-1-1 service does not transmit the address of the caller. It is important to write the correct address down and keep it next to the phone, Keck said.
The caller needs to be able to give directions to the emergency location because this service does not provide a map display.
If a caller needs an ambulance it might be better to dial the hospital rather than 9-1-1 because the dispatcher will have to call the hospital and this could delay the time it takes for help to arrive, Keck explains.
In November voters will have the opportunity to vote either for or against funding the enhanced 9-1-1 system.
The enhanced system allows calls to go directly to dedicated 9-1-1 trunk lines. These lines have the capability of being connected to enhanced 9-1-1 equipment that can identify the location of the caller in the event the person is unable to speak or unsure of their location.
The E9-1-1 equipment will have one button transfer capability to log the call directly to the hospital instead of redialing the call.
Keck said the E9-1-1 system has advantages over the basic system but the cost is more.