Towns County prioritizes its citizens safety

911 lines

HIAWASSEE, Ga – During the Towns County May Commission meeting, EMA Director Marty Roberts presented details pertaining to E911 trunk lines and hopefully providing more precise 911 calls.

Towns County’s currently updating 911 equipment which includes a project with AT&T to accurately direct 911 calls depending on location.

“We receive a ton of calls from North Carolina. We’ve talked to the cell phone companies. They’ve changed the angles on the antennas, several different things, and they can’t stop that call from coming to us. If you’re standing on the square in Clay County, North Carolina, you’re going to get us,” Roberts explained.

Three trunk lines run into the 911 center, but the current technology doesn’t sort out all the calls depending on location. The new system will provide heightening functionality for the 911 center and save $5,000 a month for each of the trunk lines.

Also, with the existing system, Towns 911 employees must dial the Clay County 911 Center to transfer a call. The new deal with AT&T will allow Towns to transfer calls at the touch of a button, speeding up the process.

After three years, AT&T finally presented a decent price for the switch over that was cheaper than the current contract.

“We’re excited about it cause the big thing with the Clay County calls is we don’t want to delay those people getting 911 service at all,” Roberts commented.

Roberts advised it won’t completely fix the issue because it’s difficult with cell phones. The EMA Director also serves on the state Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) board. They are working on transferring the entire state over to NextGen 911, which should hopefully solve most of the issues created with cell phones reaching the wrong center.

However, Roberts doesn’t believe NextGen will be online for another three or four years. Approximately six counties in Georgia don’t have a 911 number. Citizens in those counties must dial a ten-digit number for aid. The state’s working with those counties to change over their systems.

Air Methods Agreement Renewed

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Air Ambulance Representative Marcus Lindsey

Towns County renewed its contract with Air Methods the organization that provides air ambulance services to Towns County residents. The new contract will take effect on June 1 with a $28,408.77 cap and if the cap is not met, it’s not paid.  The maximum cost per flight is $700 and the pricing hasn’t updated in three years. It’s a pay-as-you structure.

“It’s based on the patient’s out-of-pocket obligation for the flight. So,/ if the patient was in a situation where they were covered, and they had no out-of-pocket expense for that medical transport, then the county would pay it,” Air Methods Representative Marcus Lindsey explained.

Air Methods Representative Marcus Lindsey commented they served Towns’ citizens for five terms now. The program began under Commissioner Kendall. Lindsey claimed the potential out-of-pocket savings is into the millions.

The 2020 contract came in under $10,000 the budgeted cap.

Public safety is reviewing all their procedures and defining roles in case of an emergency. They are also planning a school walkthrough for the summer and a mock drill in the community.

Bradshaw reached out to Roberts and Sheriff Ode Henderson so the county can be prepared at all times.

The county received one bid for a camera system on Bell Mountain for $4,400. It will be a live feed system that feeds into 911 and possibly the sheriff’s office.  They had problems getting bids for the system and they haven’t accepted the $4,400 bid at this time. More information will be available at the next meeting.

Leave a comment

Back to Top