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Vermont using new 911 technology

January 3: Vermont is the first state to announce its 911 system will be totally converted to use internet protocol to support the emergency call system. The Times Argus reported that the enhanced 911 system (E911) "will have access to all kinds of information about a caller ... [and that] the call centers are potentially mobile."

The new system went online January 1, the Times Argus reported. According to Jim Lipinski, the information technology manager of the state's E911 system, "Prior to (Hurricane Katrina) the thought of packing up a whole system and moving it didn't exist." However, using the digital system, state and local officials have access to the "voice and graphic data," of callers.

The result of using digital, the Times Argus continues, means that "feeds from a security camera could become part of a call; video and pictures relay important information the person using the device may not be able [describe] ... such as the relevance of HAZMAT symbols on the side of a truck at the scene of a wreck."

Lipinksi continued to say that E911 "creates the need and demand for broadband in more geographically dispersed areas. ... Cell phones changed the rules."

The system is redundant and can change according to the situation. If portions of the phone lines, or internet signal go down, the system can be re-routed.

The system was developed with the help of the Vermont E911 Board "an independent, 11-member, governor-appointed board comprising members of the public and representatives from the fire chiefs, EMS, state police, local police and sheriff's departments."

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