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How One Birmingham Software Company is Reinventing 9-1-1 Calls

We live in dangerous times. It seems each week there's a new report of senseless violence that leaves communities fearing for their safety.

Just last week in Birmingham, a homicide at Ross Bridge resort in Hoover followed a deadly shooting at a UPS facility in Inglenook.

Local police departments responded swiftly to 9-1-1 calls in both instances, but Birmingham software company Emergency CallWorks has developed a process that will link the emergency call centers of multiple police and fire municipalities to help facilitate the flow of information between departments.

"If a bank robbery occurs in downtown Birmingham and the suspects flee outside of the BPD's jurisdiction, the information of the initial 9-1-1 call that's sent to the BPD can be easily and efficiently sent to other departments," said Craig Parker, CEO of Emergency CallWorks. "First responders couldn't coordinate their response and weren't interoperable. This is changing that."

Emergency CallWorks has developed a technology that uses emergency services IT networks, or ESInets, to consolidate the information of a 9-1-1 call, whether it comes in the form of a phone call, text message, photo or video, into a single source that can then be easily shared among police departments.

Parker says this is known as Next Generation 9-1-1 and ESInets will soon replace the technology of 9-1-1 call centers that can only process analog phone calls.

Currently, Jefferson County and Shelby County have signed contracts with Emergency CallWorks and will establish data centers for the technology. They will then be able to contract the technology out to other police municipalities in Vestavia, Trussville and others.

Parker says his company has recently inked a multimillion-dollar deal with Cuyahoga County in Ohio, which is part of the greater Cleveland area and includes 45 emergency call centers. He also says negotiations for statewide ESInets for states in the Northeast are underway and deals should be finalized in the next few weeks.

"Alabama is planning to be among the first to build a statewide ESInet," he said. "This is a tremendous economic development story for our state."

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