Bids being accepted for upgraded 911 system - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bids being accepted for upgraded 911 system

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - In the near future, you could do more than just call in your emergencies to 911. You could soon be texting too.

For years, the Guam Fire Department has talked about upgrading to a new e-911 system. At long last, the system is out for bid.

"The specs have been reviewed by the AG's Office. Being that it's a multimillion dollar purchase, it has to go for review. Then we're going to put the specs together based on the AG's recommendation and send it out to GSA for bidding," explained GFD federal programs manager Kevin Reilly. He's is optimistic the system could be on Guam soon and would change how residents report in their emergencies.

Currently, GFD uses a 15-year-old system. Although still functional, Reilly admits its antiquated and difficult to repair because of the lack of parts.

Most importantly however, the system just can't keep up with today's technology. In the past, GFD couldn't trace calls from individuals who called in fake bomb threats. "With the new system, we have two phases for that. It would be able to triangulate cellphones. You'd be able to text in emergencies. And we could pinpoint cellphone location based on triangulation of cellphone towers, etc.," he said.

But what's been the holdup? KUAM files show issues with funding continually delayed any start of the bid process. Today, Reilly reports good news.

"Using the 911 funds that we collect from rate payers, that will be the funding source for purchase. However, we do have several options we can use: leasing, rent to own, and purchasing the system outright," he said.

And with the new system, Reilly says GFD and Guam Police can also strengthen their partnership and lessen response time.

"What we're trying to do is the immediate need to replace the system at civil defense, our e911 system needs to be replaced. Once that's completed we're going to move onto phase two and that's building a communications center. Once that communications center is done and we integrate with the LMR and the 911, then we could use the Civil Defense as a redundant site - in case there are any emergencies or something were to happen to the existing,
 he said.


Until the new system is up and running, Reilly assures residents can be confident when they call 911 that a fire dispatcher will pick up the line.

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