For the Reporter
The King County Council has unanimously approved a regional effort to upgrade and modernize the county’s emergency communications system.
Known as E911, the system plays a vital role in sending emergency services to residents in South King County, as well as suburban and rural King County.
King County’s regional E-911 system provides an emergency communications link between the people of King County and appropriate public safety responders, who are dispatched from 12 “public safety answering points” (PSAPs) across the county.
In addition to approving the Regional E-911 Strategic Plan, the legislation creates a new advisory governing body to coordinate decision-making and funding recommendations to sustain the countywide service.
“Three years ago, the question of how to manage the E911 system into the future was an open one. Now, due to the dedicated work of cities, public safety agencies, and the county, we have a strategic plan that charts a path forward,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci. “We have come together as a region and are ready to work collectively to ensure that when someone calls 911 the call is answered in seconds and help is on the way without delay.”
“Citizens deserve the best public safety infrastructure available,” said Council member Reagan Dunn. “Today’s vote is an important step in that direction.”
Balducci and Dunn, along with Councilmember Kathy Lambert, served as the council’s representatives on the E911 Leadership Group, which approved the plan adopted by council.
The newly passed law includes a timeline to securely and effectively integrate emerging technological capabilities into the E-911 system.
Once implemented by King County and the public safety answering points, the updated E-911 network could support the transmission of text, photo, and/or video-to-911, allow for better location identification, and receive automatic collision notification from vehicles and data from medical devices.
The new Regional Advisory Governing Board created by the legislation will make recommendations to the King County E-911 Program Office and county elected officials. The plan anticipates that over the next five years the board will work to replace the current analog technology while also balancing expenditures and revenues to sustain the system.
County officials expect the modernized E-911 system to be deployed by 2022.