New systems improve emergency response

Wendi Palomino, one of Wright County’s emergency dispatchers, shows her setup in the communications room. With the PowerPhone system, she can navigate questions and information on the screen while on an emergency call. Texts to 911 also come up on the computer screen. Photo by Kacey Ginn

New emergency radios and radio towers aren’t the only recent improvements for local emergency responders.

By the time you read this article, 911 operators in the Wright County dispatch center will have started using the PowerPhone system for emergency calls. Over the last few weeks, they have gone through training on the system and completed practice scenarios.

The PowerPhone system is software that will prompt a 911 dispatcher to ask a caller questions based on the emergency they’re facing. Dispatchers send the appropriate emergency personnel to the scene as quickly as possible, but now they can also send responders more info as the caller answers questions tailored to the scenario.

“We’re now going to be able to ask, say, if it’s a car accident, ‘Are you trapped? How many people are in it?’ More detailed info is what we’re going to be able to get,” said Colleen Meier, communications supervisor in the Wright County Sheriff’s office.


For more information about how the Powerphone system will improve local emergency response, see the February 15 edition of the Monitor.