Arlington gets new 911 technology

Arlington's Emergency Communications Center is getting a makeover.

New RapidDeploy technology will allow more data sharing and integrate mapping in an effort to better locate the person calling 911. According to the ECC administrator Jake Saur, this will help decrease response times and increase survivability rates.

"Compared to the legacy systems of 911, that really haven’t advanced, as we talk about next generation 911, this is a game changer as far location. That is our biggest problem in 911 determining exactly where you are so we can get help to you fast," said Saur. 

The new, cloud-based technology uses the data from a caller’s cell phone to help determine the location of their emergency more accurately. Dispatchers will see a pin drop within 3 meters of the exact location of the caller.

The older technology would only pin 10 to 500 meters in range.

According to RapidDeploy, this will improve the outcomes of calls and fixes the location accuracy issues many 911 callers deal with in the D.C. area.

Telecommunicators can even locate a person while they’re moving into different jurisdictions and figure out what floor they may be on in a building to ensure they get the proper care they need. 

And now, people can text 911 -- and there’s no app you need to download to do so.

"We like to keep in mind that we ask you to call if you can, text if you can’t. So if you really can’t communicate with us by any other means or you need to keep your communication with us a little bit more secretive then by all means, text us. We’re here 24/7 to answer those text messages," said Angelina Candelas-Reese, Arlington 911 Systems Manager.

Soon people will also be able to send dispatchers videos and photos from their location as well.

Alexandria was the first city in northern Virginia to implement this. Now Arlington, and Montgomery County, MD, just rolled out with it as well. RapidDeploy says more emergency call centers in the region will go live with the same technology soon.