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Surry County Testing New 911 Call System

Surry County communications operators are testing a developing 911 call system to improve emergency response networks. A grant program is funding a test system called Next Generation 911 from Greensboro-based Synergem Emergency Services. Surry County communications director Roger Shore says the system allows 911 operators to field calls more efficiently.

Roger Shore: "At one location, they will receive calls for several counties and if there's a problem with any of those locations, they can re-route those calls to another center as a backup or allow us to be able to be a little more versatile in the way that we would handle our call routing."

Shore says that also allows law enforcement to receive calls from the site of larger or high-risk emergencies. Synergem officials say they are also developing a system that would receive emergency text messages. The Winston-Salem Police Department is the only other municipality participating in the grant program, which ends next month. The 911 network would go live next year if communications officials approve it.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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