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In the News

CAPCOG looks ahead to expanded 9-1-1 capacity

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Moving forward from the recent 9-1-1 issue, the Capital Area Council of Governments and partners continue to evaluate new methods for enhancing and augmenting the 10-county region’s emergency communications capacity.   

At about 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, calls to the Austin-Travis County 9-1-1 center were rerouted to other local emergency communications facilities because of a temporary server failure and – due to maintenance at the time – unavailability of the backup center. The redirecting of calls to the backup agencies worked exactly as planned, and systems were repaired and returned to normal by approximately 7:46 p.m. that day. 

Such was the power of partnerships, with backup assistance from the City of Austin Police and Fire departments, Travis County EMS and Sheriff’s Office, Pflugerville Sheriff’s Office, Round Rock and Williamson County. The agencies worked closely with CAPCOG, which oversaw the repairs and coordinated the response. 

Looking ahead, CAPCOG is exploring options to further expand backup capabilities. Our vendors are already investigating enhancements to the system to improve resiliency and diversity options to prevent a similar situation in the future.

This includes moving closer to testing newer technology aligned with Next Generation 9-1-1, a national initiative to help emergency communication centers accept calls by text messages, photos, videos, alarm systems, vehicle devices such as OnStar and medical-alert systems for seniors — all in addition to voice-only calls. 

Most important, the 10-county region as of this year is its own 9-1-1 district, allowing for more flexibility in meeting the emergency communications challenges of today and tomorrow.

One of the early actions of the new Capital Area Emergency Communications District, the nation’s first COG-managed emergency communications district, was to establish a Strategic Advisory Committee. The committee, starting at its inaugural meeting in January, will consider several long-term 9-1-1 upgrades for the region.

> Learn more about CAPCOG's Emergency Communications Division
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