Columbiana officials explore options for 911 upgrades

LISBON, Ohio (WYTV) – Changes in technology mean the 911 system in Columbiana County is behind the times and needs replaced.

But before the committee overseeing the project asks commissioners to spend half a million dollars, they are looking to save some money.

“Right now, our current 911 system is running on Windows XP. We’re faced with upgrading to either Windows 7 or 8, which is going to be relatively expensive with five PSAPs (public service answering points),” Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle said.

The cost to upgrade those five 911 centers is more than $400,000 and that is just for the computers. The county also needs to upgrade its software program.

Weigle expects the state to force all 911 systems to upgrade to newer enhanced 911 systems soon. Upgrading to the new system would cost about the same as just buying new computers.

Weigle said Columbiana County officials are trying to share some of the expense by inviting Harrison County and Carroll County to form a regional 911 system. The new system Columbiana County is considering can answer calls for up to five different counties and also would be able to accept text and picture messages.

What the committee is waiting for is to find out how many of Columbiana’s five 911 centers will still be needed when the software company builds a new call system.

“I asked them to tell me how we would continue with five PSAPs, how that would fold into the system they have and they are working those logistics out. We hope to have that within the next week,” Weigle said.

A meeting will be scheduled to discuss the company’s recommendations.

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