Residents can look forward to new legislation to tackle the problems faced when trying to call the territory’s primary emergency number — 911.
The government is seeking to introduce the Emergency Call Handling Bill to increase its compatibility with modern trends. This was revealed by Governor John Rankin
in his Speech from the Throne address in the House of Assembly (HOA) yesterday.
With emerging communication trends, this new legislation is expected to “enhance the flexibility, reliability, and survivability of the 911 systems during major incidents,” Governor Rankin disclosed.
“It is also expected to improve emergency response for the public and emergency responders, help to ensure the seamless integration of the 911 systems with other public and private safety mechanisms used throughout the Virgin Islands
, and ensure the appropriate financial mechanisms exist to reduce the overall cost of operating and sustaining the 911 system for the Virgin Islands
,” the Governor continued.
The government has established a Next Generation 911 Emergency Call Handling Centre for the Virgin Islands
, which is designed to enable the sharing of valuable lifesaving emergency response and law enforcement information through smart mobile and fixed communications.
A critical element to the full functioning of this Centre will be the enactment of supporting the Emergency Call Handling legislation.
Back in 2020, more than 60 officers were trained in the Next Generation 911 software to efficiently dispatch emergency calls among agencies.
The training session allowed for officers from the Virgin Islands
Fire & Rescue Service, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, and Emergency Medical Technicians to learn the new system that will be attached to their emergency service vehicles.
The system also allowed for upgraded computers that are expected to improve communication between agencies and the 911 Call Centre which is stationed at the D Orlando Smith Hospital Annex.