Wisconsin 911 center turns to Cassidian Communications
Cassidian Communications will install its VESTA/Sentinel call-taking solution for next-generation 911 (NG-911) at the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency, which is located on the shore of Lake Superior in Superior, Wis.
The NG-911 call-taking system will replace a legacy VESTA/Pallas system that Douglas County Emergency Management has been using since 2003. Although the call center currently lacks the all-IP connectivity necessary to implement all aspects of NG-911, the VESTA/Sentinel solution is designed to increase reliability via geo-redundancy, according to Frank Jarman, regional account manager for Cassidian Communications.
“They’ve got some unique needs, in that all they’ve got to the north of them is water and Canada, so they’re very remote as far as support and other issues,” Jarman said during an interview with Urgent Communications.
Jarman noted that the new solution will allow Douglas County to establish a geo-redundant 911 call center in another location.
“That’s probably one of their real underlying goals that they wanted to accomplish—mitigate some of that single-facility risk that is inherent when you’re in one building,” he said. “The ability to spread that risk out and get away from being tied to one facility is a big deal. I think it is, and will continue to be, one of the more redeeming values in this migration as we move down this path to IP telephony and next-gen 911.”
Keith Kesler, director of Douglas County Emergency Management, echoed this sentiment.
“With the VESTA/Sentinel 4 system, we can offload calls to other locations going forward, improving the survivability and reliability of our own 911 service,” Kesler said in a statement. “This capability was another key factor in our decision to remain with Cassidian Communications and implement the new 911 call taking system.
“The design of the new VESTA/Sentinel system fits well with our operational model and gives our call takers a familiar, user-friendly interface, shortening the learning curve. … It also puts us well down the path of NG-911 by accommodating future capabilities like text to 911.”
Douglas County Emergency Management is expected to begin operations with the new system during the fourth quarter of this year, Jarman said.