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Athens-Limestone 911 incorporates new ANGEN system

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Athens-Limestone County 911 center is out with the old and in with the new.

"Today's 911 calls are delivered across a 1960s legacy copper phone system basically," explained Brandon Wallace, Athens-Limestone 911 Director. "You can call 911 from your watch, or a thousand different wireless devices. It wasn't made to be able to send pictures or video."

Wallace said in today's world you should be able to communicate with authorities in the safest manner possible.

Depending on the emergency, that could be a call or a text message.

The Alabama Next Generation Emergency Network, or ANGEN, also gives dispatchers a better look at where you are.

"What we're striving for here is to have better location of that phone," added Wallace. "We need to know where this phone is right now when you call us."

But technology can fail. Still, Wallace said all their bases are covered.

"The new system, it uses multiple providers of fiber, in and out of the center. And it has a back up to that, which is LTE."

That means if the fiber fails, the system's LTE back up capability is powerful enough on its own to route emergency calls to the 911 center.

Wallace said this system won't change anything about reporting emergencies.

"You're going to dial 911 and hit send just like normal," he explained. "Or pick your handset up at home and dial 911. Nothing is going to change on the caller's end necessarily."

It'll just help the 911 center, better help you.

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