Thursday, July 10, 2014

McCrory Signs Legislation Requiring 911 Center Backup Plans

Senate Bill 797 requires all public agencies operating 911 centers to have an alternate plan for taking 911 calls.
Jul 10, 2014

Every 911 center in North Carolina will be required to have a backup call response plan in place under legislation signed today by Governor Pat McCrory.

Senate Bill 797 requires all public agencies operating 911 centers (known as Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs) to have an alternate plan for taking 911 calls in the event that a primary PSAP can’t receive and process those calls. The state’s PSAPs answered 6.9 million 911 calls last year, but outages at 21 PSAPs resulted in 62 hours with no 911 service.  

“North Carolinians should have confidence that emergency services will be there when they are needed most,” said Governor McCrory. “By requiring our 911 centers to have a plan for redirecting emergency calls, citizens can be assured that police, fire and ambulance services can respond quickly during an emergency.” 

Representative Jason Saine, a first responder and one of the bill’s sponsors, says the legislation affirms the state’s commitment to public safety. 

“First responders understand how critical it is during any emergency to hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” said Saine. “This legislation gives first responders added confidence that clear plans are in place for any communication outages that might occur.”   

Of the 127 PSAPs in North Carolina, only 26 have backup plans in place. Senator Andrew Brock, a bill sponsor, says citizens will be better served when every PSAP has a designated backup plan. 

“Our 911 centers should use the latest technology to ensure that all North Carolinians have uninterrupted, high-quality 911 service that allows their emergency calls to be answered in a timely way,” said Brock.  

PSAPs have until July 1, 2016 to comply with the new law.