When telephone customers on US WEST Communication exchanges in the Duchesne, Roosevelt and Vernal need help, a new enhanced 911 system will ensure they get it.

The enhanced system benefits callers in need of emergency help by automatically identifying for the dispatcher the phone number, primary resident and location of the call on a computer screen.The system was officially connected on Monday at midnight.

"It's been two years in the making this month," according to Laconna Davis, communications manager for Uintah Basin Communications (central dispatch). "It's been a long process, but we're excited.

"With Enhanced 911, we can immediately pinpoint the location and telephone number of the caller," Davis explained. "Help can be dispatched to the right location even if the caller is unable to talk. The ability to pinpoint is extremely valuable in cases where the caller is excited or confused and unable to give complete information."

In addition to instantly identifying the calling party's address and phone number, calls are automatically routed to the appropriate emergency response agency, by linking the calling party's address to a customized data base.

Although US WEST customers in the Vernal area have had access to 911 for several years now, Monday's implementation of the Enhanced 911 system marks the first time the emergency number has been available on a dedicated line in the Roosevelt and Duchesne areas.

The capability for callers to dial 911 and have it ring through to dispatch offices was created by US WEST a few months ago by mistake. Calls made to 911 by those in the Roosevelt and Duchesne exchanges rang in on a central dispatch business line, rather than on a dedicated emergency extension. Normally those in the Roosevelt and Duchesne areas had to dial a seven-digit number for assistance.

Now those with the 738, 722, 781, and 789 telephone prefixes have the security of knowing that in the event of an emergency, quick response personnel can be immediately directed to the correct location. Such a service is particularly beneficial in a rural area.

"It makes us and the emergency personnel more efficient in their response time," Davis explained.

View Comments

"We will still verify where the emergency is occurring, because sometimes a call will be made from a neighbors house."

The process of converting to the Enhanced 911 system began two years ago and involved the complex task of compiling a Master Street Address Guide file which supplied street and roadway names, address ranges, communities and emergency service numbers. Street names and house numbers had to be assigned to every residence and business in Duchesne and Uintah Counties. Signs were erected to mark even the remotest streets. Grids and maps were prepared.

Even though the new system is often referred to as, "Enhanced 911, " Davis reminds those needing assistance of police and fire departments, or emergency medical technicians need only to dial 911.

She said it is still important for 911 callers to stay on the line long enough for dispatchers to verify the address, determine the nature of the emergency and the kind of response necessary.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.