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News and Noteworthy Details

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Durham’s Next Generation 9-1-1 Installation Complete

Center Now Poised to Begin Accepting Images & Video When Mobile Carriers Come Online

​DURHAM, N.C. – The Durham Emergency Communications Center is now one of the few next generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems in the country, laying the groundwork to enable it to accept text, images, and video once mobile carriers make this an available option to their customers.

The center is now fully transitioned to NG9-1-1, which uses the latest call-handling technology in a cloud-based solution, and is now capable of making further advancements in its 9-1-1 capabilities in response to the needs of a wireless, mobile society. According to James Soukup, director of the Durham Emergency Communications Center, in today's 9-1-1 environment, people can primarily make only emergency voice calls and teletype calls from the hearing impaired. Only minimal data is delivered with these calls, such as automatic number identification, subscriber name, and automatic location identification, when available. With NG9-1-1, people will be able to make voice, text, or video emergency "calls" from any communication devices that use the Internet.

“The nation's current 9-1-1 system is not capable of handling the text, data, images, and video that are increasingly common in personal communications. That’s why Durham upgraded to NG9-1-1 so we would be ready to move forward with the industry,” said Soukup. “The completed installation of Durham’s system paves the way for future advancements, such as being able to accept videos and photos. Now that we have this technology installed at the Center, we are ready to accept this type of data as soon as mobile carriers make it possible for their customers to send it to us.”

Since August 2011, Durham residents and visitors who are also Verizon Wireless customers have been able to send text messages to 911. The “text to 9-1-1” technology was part of a collaboration between the City of Durham, Verizon Wireless, and Intrado. Intrado, an emergency communications technology provider, installed the NG9-1-1 system at the Durham Emergency Communications Center, which will save the Center approximately $200,000 per year in surcharge funds.

The Durham Emergency Communication Center remains the first 9-1-1 center in North Carolina, as well as the one of the first 9-1-1 centers in the United States, to enable texting technology using 9-1-1 digits and live-call takers.

To learn more about the Durham Emergency Communications Center or Durham’s new NG9-1-1 system, contact Soukup at (919) 560-4191 or by email at

For information about the nation’s transition to NG9-1-1, visit the National Emergency Number Association’s website at

About the Durham Emergency Communications Center
The Durham Emergency Communications Center is the primary public safety answering point for the City and County of Durham. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the Center helps to ensure that Durham is a safe and secure community by providing around-the-clock 911 access and services to the residents and user agencies in and around Durham County. Services include, but are not limited to, emergency and non-emergency requests for assistance; dispatch of police, fire, and emergency medical services; other city/county support agencies; and other duties as required. The geographic service area encompasses 296 square miles with approximately 250,000 residents. The center has earned the internationally recognized APCO Project 33 Certification from the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International, Inc.; Emergency Medical Dispatch Accreditation by the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch; and accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement  Agencies. The center was the first, and currently, one of only two centers in the world to hold these three accreditations simultaneously. To learn more, visit or “like”

Published: 06/11/2013 - Last Edited: