Bamberg, South Carolina (November 2021) – Bamberg County is the fifth county in South Carolina to implement a next-generation 911 emergency telephone response system. The upgraded system, which comes at no cost to the County, will allow for Bamberg County to participate in the statewide initiative of modernizing a critical emergency service that was built on technology from the 1970s.
"Bamberg County is now Next Gen 9-1-1 compliant and our new phone system has been upgraded," stated Tiffany Kemmerlin, Emergency Services Director. "We are proud to lead the way in next generation technology that will keep our citizens safe and healthy."
Next Generation 911, or NG911, will transition Bamberg County's current 911 infrastructure to an Internet Protocol-based system. These technological changes includes the ability for 911 centers to receive and communicate via texts, images, videos, and even streaming video messages from citizens.
The Bamberg County Department of Emergency Services is one of the first in the state of South Carolina to join the state-wide NG9-1-1 system. While the South Carolina NG9-1-1 system will have many capabilities, here are just a few items that will enhance Bamberg County's 9-1-1 service to its citizens:
1. 9-1-1 Caller Location Accuracy
Bamberg County's 9-1-1 calls will now be routed natively based upon information provided by the caller's device, such as a cellular phone. There are also multiple additional checks and balances for verifying the location within the NG9-1-1 services, as opposed to a singular method in the old 9-1-1 network.
2. Today's Technology
The state-wide NG9-1-1 solution provides the ability to natively deliver text messages to 9-1-1, and will also offer the ability to receive video, photos, and other digital files once the national standards are solidified in the 9-1-1 industry. This feature is scheduled to go live in Bamberg County by July 2022. Most 9-1-1 centers across the nation currently require a 3rd party application to deliver any of this data.
3. 9-1-1 Center Interoperability
The Bamberg County Department of Emergency Services now has the ability to select many different automatic alternate routes for their 9-1-1 calls in the case of service loss or maintenance requirements. They also have the ability to choose any dispatch center they desire as a backup to answering their 9-1-1 calls. Previously, they could only choose one location or phone number within their region to automatically route to, while any deviation from that would require a special request from their service provider.
4. Network Redundancy & Diversity
The Bamberg County Department of Emergency Services now has dual network connections from multiple service providers to support their operations, whereas only single analog circuits delivered along the same path were previously used. They now have true 99.999% availability and usability of their 9-1-1 network, which has been the gold standard of 9-1-1 providers for years, but seldom delivered to its fullest extent.
"The transition to NG911 not only improves the services that we are able to provide to the citizens of Bamberg County in emergencies, but enhances our telecommunications infrastructure for greater efficiently and reliability in regard to public safety," said Bamberg County Administrator Joey Preston. "Bamberg County upgraded its system faster than any other county in the state, less than three hours, and that's because of the preparedness and professionalism of our emergency services personnel."