"(Now) citizens can pretty much make one call to one center for all of their public safety needs," said Wesley Reid, director of Guilford Metro 911.
"Nothing was more difficult than getting a caller saying 'My husband is having a heart attack' and having to say 'Hold please, let me transfer your call,'" Reid
"The (sheriff's) dispatcher was able to turn to the police dispatcher to get help out and on the way immediately instead of having to make transfers or calls between centers," Reid
The Guilford Metro consolidation came out of a
meeting of city and county government officials and emergency officials who were seeking ways to better serve the public.
Consolidation began gradually over a four-year span, at a cost of $500,000, Reid
Construction of a new consolidated center would have cost about $10 million, according to estimates, Reid
"If we would have had a catastrophic event here in Guilford County two to three years ago, there was no backup and no place for us to go," Reid
"For a good amount of time, citizens wouldn't have been able to reach anybody from the 911 aspect."
Consolidation also has allowed Guilford Metro 911
to be on the forefront of new 911 technology initiatives.
It is one of only three 911 centers nationwide involved in the testing of Next Generation 911 - a new technology that will allow dispatchers to receive emergency calls through text messages, pictures sent from cell phones and pagers.
"Some of that occurred with the Virginia Tech
"Several of those students were found trying to text 911, but it was going nowhere."
If things go well, Reid hopes Guilford Metro will be one of the first 911 centers to adopt the new technology later this year.
"People aren't aware of how good of a (911) system they have here in Guilford County," Reid