Callaway County gets quick fix for failed emergency GPS system
By Daniel Winn
Thu, 24 May 2012 02:51:07 GMT — When you call 911, you expect emergency responders to get to you quickly. But a computer glitch could slow the response to people who live in Callaway County. A GPS system there has been a problem since it was installed last July. The system is meant to track county ambulances and sheriff's deputies, to cut response times. Officials met with the company Wednesday and told KRCG 13's Daniel Winn they are now taking steps to fix the problem. Callaway County ambulances are ready to roll, but there's a computer glitch keeping them at bay. The county's six ambulances and 13 sheriff's units were outfitted last year with laptops.They're supposed to track every unit so dispatchers know who is the closest when there is an emergency.Ambulance Director Charles Anderson showed us a number of units that have been stuck in the same location for days, and he says that's just not acceptable, "when minutes count, it could mean the difference between life and death", Anderson said. Opinions are split as to what the problem is.The company Geo-Comm said the systems aren't working because sheriff's deputies take the computers off their docking stations.Although, EMS employees said they never remove the computers and are having the same problem. Anderson said, " It has been very frustrating, I mean not only does it not work and not take the data back to the dispatch centers where it's supposed to...â??. It also takes time away from the daily duties of emergency personnel. So how did Geo-Comm feel after Wednesday's meeting? They told the county they have about a thousand systems running around the country and they've never had this problem, and they're ready to resolve the problem, despite the nearly year of issues. Scott Wolhart, Geo-Comm Technician said, "We are going to explore bypassing laptops and docking stations all together and go with external GPS modems". The county plans to experiment with a few of those new systems.They don't expect any additional cost to taxpayers.The total cost of the system is about $100,000.
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