New 911 Regional System Connects Nine 911 Call Centers

06.27.13 | Abby Lutcher

The project itself is called the Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project.  MCM Consulting Group has been working on the project since 2011. Just this week the project was completed and the system went live in: Clearfield, Elk, Clarion, Cameron, Jefferson, Crawford, McKean, Forest and Warren counties.  "In rural Pennsylvania our dollars are always short. So, what a perfect spot to be able to build this network out," Elk County EMA Director Michael McAllister said. The new system allows each of the counties to be a part of a regional network. "We were able to take our phone system and put our two servers -- one in Clearfield County, the one in Elk County for redundancy and now all of the counties talk to each other through those servers across our network," McAllister said. McAllister said that by completing the project, taxpayer dollars are being used more efficiently. He also said that by connecting the counties to a regional system, dispatchers are assured that 911 calls will never get missed. "If we were to have a system failure, any one county could fail or lose its service and any of the other 911 centers are able to pick up their calls," McAllister said. Amongst the nine counties, the Northern Tier Regional Telecommunications Project saves $1.8 million in capital cost savings. McAllister said that money for the project came from a surcharge on monthly cell phone and landline bills. Officials said there is a maintenance savings of $188,000. "Taxpayer dollars, they are all getting tight the amount of money that we're receiving from the state and federal agencies. It is all starting to dwindle and be a little tighter, so we all have to be very thrifty in how we spend our money, which prime example our phone system. We saw the savings to the taxpayers and to the counties by being able to do a regionalization project," McAllister said.