Hawaii 911 planning to handle data streams - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii 911 planning to handle data streams

Chief Kenison Tejada Chief Kenison Tejada
Glenn Roach Glenn Roach

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When an emergency call reaches 911 at the Honolulu Fire Department, dispatchers can access a room full of visual aides like computer maps and traffic cameras.

But right now they're limited to fielding calls for help only over the telephone.

"We always talk to people. We've never had to text back and forth. We've never had to respond to their sending us data," Battalion Chief Kenison Tejada said.

That's what's coming to 911 -- for firefighters, police, EMT's and paramedics.

"We've deployed wireless 911 across the state and Next Generation is the next step," said Glenn Roach, executive director of the Hawaii Wireless Enhanced 911 Board.

In Next Generation 911, emergency calls will also come in through text messages and other data streams from cell phones like streaming video and still pictures.

Those images will be sent to the field.

"It'll be valuable to us when we go to scenes. We can get a good idea of what's happening," Tejada said.

The change will be nationwide. The US Department of Transportation is working on a development project.

Hawaii hopes to be up and running within four years through state and federal funding.

"Obviously it's going to be in the millions. It's not going to be an inexpensive effort," Roach said.

"When next generation comes on board the present day equipment, even though it's brand new, it's not going to work," Tejada said.

That will call for a technical overhaul and intensive dispatcher training as 911 moves into the 21st century.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly