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New upgrade to 9-1-1 system could save lives

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GUERNSEY COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – If a picture is worth a thousand words, an upgrade to Guernsey County’s 911 system is priceless.

The Carbyne-C Live system allows the dispatcher to see the scene of the emergency as well as hear the caller’s voice. If the caller is on a cell phone, the dispatcher texts them a link. The caller touches the link and that creates a video feed. It’s technology that will literally save lives.

On Tuesday, a semi went up on flames on I-70. “It was a car carrier,” said Jeff Hannon, Guernsey County dispatch coordinator. “So we got two calls with video of that. We could see the semi fully engulfed with the four or five vehicles on the back, also fully engulfed.”

So first responders knew exactly what they would be dealing with.

“This will help us relay the information to dispatchers and squads,” said Sheriff Jeff Paden. “It also gives our dispatchers a better opportunity to help them medically.”

“A lot of times, I ask them what color are the patient’s lips,” said Hannon. “And that lets me know if they’re blue or gray then they’re not getting enough oxygen so CPR is going to be pretty important for that call.”

If they can’t speak, it allows the caller to silently text.

“If someone’s home is broken into, the perpetrator is in the house, and the homeowner is hiding,” explained Lt. Dustin Best, Guernsey County 911 coordinator. “Obviously the homeowner doesn’t want to be heard by the suspect in the house.”

Visitors to Salt Fork State Park call in with emergencies, not knowing which of the park’s four beaches they’re calling from. “The dispatcher is able to tell what beach they’re at by the video from the camera on their phone,” said Best.

Stark County got the system first, and in the first week, they had a hostage situation. “Based on what they saw in the video, it basically helped save the person’s life,” Best noted. Guernsey County is the second county in Ohio to get it. “If it weren’t for the voters, we could do none of this,” said Sheriff Paden.

And for anyone worrying that Big Brother will be watching them indefinitely, officials say that can’t happen. The connection ends when the call does. “It’s only for the time of the call,” Hannon said. “As soon as they click ‘end’ or they revoke permission for the camera, we’re done. We can no longer access that camera.”

They say the system costs $15,000 a year.

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