Life-saving next generation 911 technology to get $4.3 million boost in Ohio

COLUMBUS – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced local emergency call centers can apply for grants to upgrade to Next Generation 911 technology.

The funding is made possible by a $4.3 million grant from the federal 911 Grant Program.

“These funds will help expand Ohio’s 911 capabilities to keep up with today’s technology,” DeWine said. “By transmitting better information and more accurate locations, Next Generation 911 helps our first responders better assist Ohioans in need.”

NG 9-1-1 is an internet protocol-based system that enables the exchange of digital information, including text messages and eventually photos and videos. The technology also supports more efficient management of emergencies and call overload by easing the transfer of 911 calls between jurisdictions and more precisely identifying the location of callers.

“It may come as a surprise to many but in spite of technology advancements, first responders are not always able to pinpoint the exact location of callers,” said Ohio State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey, whose office operates within the Ohio Department of Commerce. “Seconds matter in emergency situations and NG 9-1-1 moves us closer to getting more tools into the hands of first responders so they’re able to deliver their life-saving services to Ohioans in need.”

The Ohio 9-1-1 Program Office and the Department of Commerce will lead the grant application and review process. The reimbursable grants will fund 60 percent of the costs associated with eligible new projects that aid local communities in the transition to NG 9-1-1.

Housed within the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the 9-1-1 Program Office coordinates communication concerning 9-1-1 issues among state, federal, regional and local public safety officials and manages the state’s long-term strategy for migration to NG 9-1-1.

“We’re pleased to join Gov. DeWine, the Department of Commerce and our emergency management partners to distribute these dollars to communities across the state,” DAS Director Matt Damschroder said. “The grants will accelerate our overall efforts to move Ohio forward to full implantation of Next Generation 911.”

Applications will be distributed to all 88 county 9-1-1 coordinators. The grants are designed to help local entities develop NG 9-1-1 capabilities. They are good for new projects, covering items such as hardware, software, training and consulting but cannot be used for items such as construction, operational costs or legacy 9-1-1 systems.