GFD still working on E-911 system - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GFD still working on E-911 system

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Guam Fire Department has struggled to upgrade the E-911 system. Plans have been in the works for two years but to date there's been no significant strides in getting the new facility or the new system in place.  But federal funding could solve all of that.

Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas had hoped to get a request for proposal for a new E-911 system out by October of 2012.  Fast forward to today and that RFP still hasn't been issued. He told KUAM News, "The holdup has really been based on the ability to use the funds that we have for the 911 system and the direction that we want to take."

Now almost two years later, San Nicolas says federal funding has been identified to upgrade the radio system and to purchase the new E-911 system altogether. "The plan is still the same on what we want to do, but how we are doing it is that's kind of changed up in the middle," he shared.

The fire department has property to build the new E-911 center that will house both the Guam Police Department's Tactical Operations Command and the E-911 Center. "We have land at Barrigada Heights that belongs to old Department of Public Safety and we are going to use the 911 fund to build the building and then the federal funds will buy the system to place into that building along with the system to support the radio for the entire island," said San Nicolas.

San Nicolas says there is at least $2.5 million available to get the project off the ground and a potential commitment from the feds totaling $12 million over a number of years.  The federal funds would be used for the new system while the E-911 funds collected every month would be used to build the facility in Barrigada.

But spending the E-911 funds isn't that easy, as the fire chief says he'll go to the fire department's oversight chair Senator Tom Ada this month asking for a bill to allow the commitment of the 911 Fund to a building loan. As it stands now, the 911 Fund is only specific to 911 operations and equipment, not for capital outlay.

Said San Nicolas, "Once that's done I'd like to hire a consultant develop scope of work and make sure that they're working with the 911 system consultant to make sure that the system we're getting is going to fit into the building we have and vice versa the building we get will work with the system."

San Nicolas says the fire department lacks the expertise with the technical components necessary for the new system and identifying the specifications that are functional.

So with money not being an issue, the fire chief now has a timeline of ground being broken late this year or early next year once the bill is passed and the scope of work for the building and the consultant is brought on board to develop the specs of the new E-911 system.

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