Upgrading 911 Response Computers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Upgrading 911 Response Computers

RICHLAND, Wash. - When you call 911 it's usually because you need help, right now. But a computer mapping problem sometimes slows down the response.

Sometimes computers at Benton County's 911 dispatch center don't recognize certain addresses people with emergencies give operators.

Columiba Park Trail also doubles as Columbia Drive and runs through two different cities. The problem may sound simple to fix, but it's more complicated than just explaining the location to the operator.

"It's actually the computer going in and looking at the map and if its getting information it doesn't understand, it's going to say these are out of tolerances and we won't be able to dispatch the appropriate apparatus there," said Capt. Mike Cobb, Richland Police Department. 

So Benton County Emergency Services asked Captain Cobb to make sure 911 computers know all the nick names for every street, all addresses are correct, and every inch of the county is covered by one police, fire and medical unit.

Once finished 911 computers should know Benton County like they're lived here for decades.  But Emergency Services workers claim this upgrade isn't just a one time adjustment.    

"It's an ongoing process, because new houses are being built all the time some are being torn down, and phone numbers change," said Benton County Emergency Services Director Hans Kwast.   

Obviously, going through every street in Benton County won't get done overnight. 911 workers remind residents, if you have an emergency and want to ensure a quick response, make sure you give the operator clear and concise information.