• FaceTime for 911 calls: New tool gives dispatchers access to your phone's camera

    By: Craig Lucie

    Updated:

    DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - If you're ever in trouble and have to call 911, dispatchers in some metro counties can now access your phone's camera to help.

    The Douglas County Emergency 911 Center is the latest department using technology that's like FaceTime for 911 dispatchers, and the company behind it says the lifesaving tool is long overdue.

    Seconds count in any emergency and one of the hardest parts of the job for dispatchers is pinpointing a caller’s exact location for first responders.

    “It’s been upsetting for me as a director. My Uber driver can find where I am but 911 can’t,” said Chad Labree with Carbyne 911.

    Labree used to be a dispatcher, but when he found out about the Israeli-based company Carbyne 911, he joined them to spread the technology behind the business.

    “It needed to happen. This technology must happen,” Labree said.


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    The technology helps 911 dispatchers immediately locate where an emergency is unfolding, but that’s not all.

    “Wherever that phone is, they can keep an eye on it for the duration of the call,” Labree said.

    “It’s like FaceTime. The dispatcher is able to send a link,” Douglas County communications director Rick Martin said.

    Martin said one of their dispatchers just received an award for helping first responders get an impaired driver off the streets.

    “We were able to protect anyone on the road,” Martin said.

    Fayette County was the first in the United States to use this technology. Douglas is now the second in the metro area, after commissioners unanimously approved using the technology -- and by the looks of things, there could be more to come.

    Public safety departments all over the world are starting to use it and there are many success stories.

    "In Mexico, a lady was delivering a baby, lost cellphone connection and that video was able to assist the dispatcher and give them instructions to successfully deliver the baby," Labree said.

    The service costs about $500 per dispatcher per year, and public safety departments around the world say it's money well spent.

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