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E911 reports busy year
Slight rise in volume of calls
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County's 911 Center dispatched more calls and handled a higher daily call volume in 2009, but did so while posting a quicker response time.

The figures, presented Thursday during an E911 Advisory Board meeting, show the center dispatched 146,679 calls for service to various local public safety agencies in 2009. The 2008 total was 145,036.

Pat Giordano, 911 director, explained the 1 percent change from 2008 does not include subdivision and business checks made by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

While the checks are recorded, she said they made the number of dispatched calls appear to increase by 64 percent.

"That wasn't the case," she said. "And to me that's not giving a true picture of what we did."

In addition, 911 calls dropped by about 2 percent, from 66,360 calls in 2008 to 65,123 last year.

Giordano said that may be because of education.

She presented the board with an updated version of "A Citizen's Guide to 911," which is distributed through the sheriff's office and public facilities.

The pamphlet provides information on how to report an emergency, as well as numbers for non-emergencies.

It also gives tips on what to do when calling 911 from a cell phone.

Wireless calls rose by 1 percent, going from 48,389 calls in 2008 to 49,035 calls in 2009, she said.

The Forsyth County Fire Department and emergency medical services each saw a 1 percent drop in dispatched calls.

Cumming police have their own dispatching service. Still, the number of calls the county center fielded for the department climbed by about 6 percent, from 1,918 in 2008 to 2,031 in 2009.

"That's because that's the first solid year of really tracking what we sent to them," Giordano explained. "We went back and made sure that all the calls that we transferred to the city were accounted for."

The numbers also show a nearly 3 percent increase in daily dispatched calls. In 2008, the average was 498 calls per day, which rose to 511 per day in 2009.

Response time improved as well.

The average time between a call being dispatched and emergency personnel arriving at the location fell from three minutes and 36 seconds in 2008 to three minutes and 28 seconds in 2009.

Sheriff Ted Paxton and Fire Chief Danny Bowman attended the meeting along with other public safety officials.

The group discussed ongoing talks with neighboring jurisdictions in an effort to improve radio communications across county lines.

Also covered were potential upgrades to the center's Computer Aided Dispatch, or CAD, system.

The system went live in 2006, Giordano said, and the computers used to run it are about 12 years old.

"Most computers are on eight hours a day," she said. "These are on 24/7. So when you do the math on that, we're looking roughly at almost 12 years old."

She said money needed for the update has been budgeted, but the holdup on whether to lease or purchase new computers.

She said the upgrade would likely be finished in July.