JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Making sure you can get the help you need during an emergency has counties working to meet a state deadline.
The state ordered 911 call centers to have a backup plan by July 1. The goal is to always make sure that dialing 911 is going to work.
“If we didn’t have a backup plan or there was no backup in place then when they called 911 there just wouldn’t be nobody there to help them,” said Ray Silance, Onslow County’s 911 Division Chief.
Onslow County’s three 911 call centers are ready to go if they find themselves in trouble. The state already approved their backup plan months ago.
“The backup plan is everything into what kind of generator you have, how many hours of fuel does it run off of, how are you going to implement that,” said Silance.
In case of an emergency like the 911 lines at one center going dead, one facility would look to the others.
“We would either evacuate to the City of Jacksonville’s 911 center or evacuate to the Camp Lejeune’s 911 center,” said Silance.
Moving to another center would allow for maintaining calls seamlessly until the facility is back up and running.
There’s also an incentive to having a plan. If a 911 center does not have one in place by the July deadline, they could risk losing state funding.
However, Onslow County is keeping $326 thousand a year safe, since their plan was approved. That amount is 30-percent of their operating costs.
“Anything that has to do with taking and receiving and processing a 911 call we can use that funding on,” Silance said, adding that they test the joint backup plan often and have not needed to use it yet.
9 On Your Side did a quick check with other 911 call centers.
Lenoir County submitted its plan months ago. Bertie County submitted its plan to the state on Monday. It reported issues last week where the line went out of service for part of the afternoon.
Starting at the end of next month, the call center will move to a newly renovated building with updated equipment.