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Pike County PSAP moves to new Solacom equipped facility days before Sandy hit

Date: 2013-01-15
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After moving into a new public safety complex in Lords Valley PA just 18 days before Hurricane Sandy struck, Pike County 9-1-1 had to hunker down and trust the recently installed Solacom next generation 9-1-1 system to function flawlessly as they responded to a month’s worth of 9-1-1 calls in the two and a half days that the superstorm raged over the county.

“For being here for such a short amount of time and just getting used to the new equipment, we were really pressed into action” said Bernie Swartwood, director of the public safety answering point (PSAP). “There were no glitches, the Solacom equipment just went right along with the call volume and everything went really well in the 9-1-1 call center.”

Mark O’Brien, Dispatcher Supervisor at Pike County 9-1-1, was also on duty during Hurricane Sandy and added “the system held up extraordinarily well, we had no issues whatsoever with any type of phone outages or anything like that on our end.”

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Solacom, in partnership with its reseller and service provider AK Associates, deployed the Guardian NG9-1-1 Controller in a geo-diverse configuration with host locations at the old Pike County 9-1-1 center in Milford PA, and the new location 16 miles away in Lords Valley. The two sites are linked via fiber optic cables that carry emergency and administrative calls, as well as data such as mapping and Computer Aided Dispatch. The system design allows either of the host locations to handle the 9-1-1 calls and 9-1-1 positions if they are cut off due to a network disruption.

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The PSAPs are equipped with the Guardian intelligent workstation (IWS) user-interface that provides state-of-the-art 9-1-1 functionality for the public safety telecommunicators. Guardian IWS provides call control functionality not seen before in any product, for example operators have complete control of each participant of the call allowing them to create private conversations or mute out disruptive participants. Operators can also join two separate calls together dynamically allowing parties who call into the system on separate lines to communicate real-time. Guardian IWS will also provide compatibility with text messaging services expected to be available in 2014 as recently announced by the FCC.

“The Solacom system, including the Guardian workstations, is designed to migrate to a fully i3 compliant system as the NENA next generation 9-1-1 standards are implemented by the public safety industry,” said Tom Kraus, Executive VP at AK Associates.

O’Brien helps manage the new system. “It is very user friendly in regards to administrative aspects where I can make a lot of the changes on the fly, very quick and very easy to do – there is no down time, it’s an immediate change.”

AK Associates and Solacom technicians were on site to install and cutover the new system and work through all on-site testing. Tony Parrott, vice president of sales at Solacom, also credits the smooth deployment to a greater focus on testing and quality review to prove systems before they leave the factory floor. “We have increased verification of the equipment before it ships and this has been paying off in terms of quicker and easier cutover at the customer site,” said Parrott.

For more information visit www.solacom.com

- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via Solacom, 1/14/13)

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