911 operator at their workstation

Enhanced 911 Could Launch Next Year

CARBONDALE —  Southern Illinois could soon be leading the nation in 911 technology. The enhanced 911 project will be asking for approval from regulators for a second time. That go ahead could come in about six months. Cellphones and 911 systems have made big progress over the years. Jackson County 911 Director Patrick Lustig first saw cellphone location pinpointing in 2002. “Every day its getting better,” said Lustig. “The carriers are doing a better job.”

He’s excited to see that technology keep up with the changing times. Fifteen southern Illinois counties are working together on a new enhanced 911 system. “This is next generation,” said Lusting. “It’s never been done ever, ever anywhere.” The system is network based and taps into the Clearwave fiber-optic connection project. Some of the first testing has already begun and will undergo more testing once it launches. In March of 2013, cellphone carriers could start the capability of allowing people to text 911.

In future years, the system could start utilizing video. For example, a police office pulling up to an accident could be sending dashcam video to a nearby emergency room. “We could alert the medical facility of what they’re going to expect when the patient arrives there,” said Lustig. Even medical devices could one day alert 911 for you. “If you have a pacemaker say for instance, and your pacemaker malfunctions,” said Lustig. Lustig is ready to see the system serve southern Illinois. “It will work better, work faster, and will get resources to people in need quicker,” said Lustig.