It’s a decision that could affect what happens the next time you call 9-1-1. On Monday, the Pitt County Board of Commissioners set aside funds to help improve the county’s emergency paging system.

Areas like Clarks Neck, Grimesland, and Simpson, in the lower part of Pitt County have been dealing with a spotty emergency paging service for some time.

It is a problem first responders in those areas say could be detrimental.

“We are a hit or miss type situation in this area,” said Chief Bryan Dixon, Clark’s Neck Vol. Fire Chief. “We are a very low percentage of actually receiving them at this time.”

Chief Dixon says this problem could have negative repercussions.

“If your firefighters don’t get the message that you’ve got a call, your man power response is reduced and in structure fires and that type of stuff you need that type of man power that can respond.”

Dixon says the problem first started when Pitt County switched over from a “VHF” very high radio frequency to the “UHF” ultra high frequency system.

An issue Pitt County Engineer, Tim Corley and staff at Pitt County development are trying to fix.

They plan on adding an additional paging site to the communication tower in Grimesland –bringing the total number of paging sites on the tower to seven.

“This project is really just a further enhancement of the radio and paging project we just completed,” said Corley.

Corley said this upgrade will cost the county around $335 thousand.

“The end result is it will help those firefighters and EMS folks out that way to be notified by the paging system, as well as clearly hear the speaking on their pagers and clearly hear what the call is that’s coming into their station,” Corley said.  “The public can be very happy with knowing we have good coverage throughout the county.”