Clark County commissioners have approved the first step to updating Metro’s aging 9-1-1 emergency system.
After a failure last month where 409 callers got a busy signal when calling for help, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has sped up the replacement timetable.
Metro’s 9-1-1 call center is the largest in the valley and one of the busiest in the country, receiving a million calls last year.
Dispatchers take emergency calls from all of Clark County with the exception of Henderson and North Las Vegas. Metro is concerned because the call volume is increasingly testing the limits of the system.
Last month the system failed. A brief outage caused more than 400 callers to get a busy signal instead of an operator. The calls were eventually routed to operators in North Las Vegas and Henderson.
“The outage was unexpected, but it certainly was the motivator for us to move the project forward more quickly,” said Rich Hoggan, Metro’s chief financial officer.
Now, Metro is speeding up it’s plans to replace it’s aging 9-1-1 system.
In June, commissioners approved $2.3 million for replacing the system this fiscal year.
“We just can’t afford to have another outage, and that’s why we got the new equipment coming, and to get that equipment properly installed, we got to put the false floor in, so I’d like them to get going on it as quickly as we possibly can,” said commissioner Steve Sisolak.
The cost has been a sticking point. The floor will run between $400,000 to $600,000.
Metro believes the new 9-1-1 system will be up and running in the next six to nine months.
It’s a race against time for a system that’s been described as “at the end of its useful life.”
“Absolutely crucial, this is really the life blood of Clark County’s emergency response system, this is where everything begins,” Hoggan said.