Grant money to bolster 911 systems in Nebraska and Iowa

Nebraska and Iowa will be putting millions of dollars in grant money to work for improvements to their 911 systems.

Iowa will harvest approximately $2.5 million while Nebraska's share in just under $2 million.

The money is to be used to upgrade equipment and operations in 911 call centers. The grants were distributed among 33 states.

The Public Service Commission will handle administration of the money in Nebraska.

“This grant will play an important role as we work with our Public Safety Answering Points to deploy NG911 services in Nebraska,” said PSC Chair Mary Ridder.

“These monies will be used to improve caller location accuracy, as well as give our 911 centers the ability to receive digital information to include, text, pictures and video in an NG911 environment.”

Joyce Flinn, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said, “This grant will help us in our efforts to modernize the state's 911 network. Funding from this grant will be used to support ongoing efforts as we upgrade to the most current public safety technology, giving citizens the ability to reach out to emergency call centers using text, video, and picture messaging. Ultimately, it's the citizens who will benefit from the increased capabilities of Iowa's 911 network."

Next Generation 911 (NG911), is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based system that allows for seamless and automatic rerouting and transfer of wireless 911 calls in the case of an outage, maintenance, or a call center that is overwhelmed due to high call volume. NG911 also increases the data associated with the call, such as more accurate caller location or telematics from smart cars, as well as other internet-based devices that can reach 911.