More than 63,400 calls came into Franklin County Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) centers in 2017 and 99.9 percent were answered in less than 30 seconds.
In fact, 88.5 percent of the calls were answered within 10 seconds of someone dialing for help.
Franklin County 911 Director Abe Cook says overall it was a strong year of transition for 911 and the overall call volume is lower.
The decrease in calls are classified as “abandoned” and include hang-ups or dropped calls and Cook credits public education for the decrease.
“If there is a hang-up, we call back right away,” Cook said. “Wireless calls coming in were down for the year, but landline calls increased.”
Overall, 39,138 wireless calls came in 2017 and 11,534 were from traditional landlines.
Cook said the highest volume of calls came in August during the week of the solar eclipse with 1,604 calls.
“The eclipse day and the Saturday before were the highest,” Cook said. “The increased population in the county for that event led to increased call volume.”
The PSAP in Union fielded 1,289 calls that week, Washington had 165, Pacific had 85 and Sullivan fielded 65.
Adversely, the lowest week of activity yielded only 916 calls to 911 countywide.
Of the four locations in the county, the Union PSAP located at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office answered the most calls by far with 52,405 and averaged about six 911 calls per hour.
The Washington PSAP fielded 6,140 911 calls in 2017, averaging just under one 911 call per hour.
In Pacific, dispatchers answered 2,826 911 calls and averaged about one 911 call every three hours per hour.
The Sullivan PSAP averaged a 911 call every four hours and tallied a total of 2,116 for 2017.
Cook added the improvements in 911 service and the work done by dispatchers is part of countywide upgrades to procedures, equipment and training.
“The county 911 as a whole is still in transition from the sheriff’s office,” Cook said. “It brings many challenges. So far, 2017 is just the beginning of an overhaul of the system.”
Some of that new training will take place this week as all of the dispatchers will begin training to act as negotiators from the moment an emergency call comes in.
Cook said the training is necessary due to the increased frequency in psych calls involving suicidal subjects or calls that may involve the SWAT team that require special skills from the moment the incident is initiated.
“Every improvement is designed to improve 911 for the residents of the county,” Cook said.
In coming weeks the 911 office will be looking at upgrades to communications in the St. Clair and Beaufort/Leslie areas to increase safety for both residents and first responders.