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Partnership promises better response times in wrecks

Staff writer

A technology partnership between the sheriff’s office, Kansas 911 Coordinating Council, RapidDeploy, and OnStar was demonstrated for emergency responders and county commissioners Thursday.

Adding the RapidDeploy mapping and OnStar communications to the enhanced 911 service the county already has will make it easier to get faster help at no additional cost to the county.

Crash locations can be pinpointed as soon as a caller notifies dispatchers.

If the driver has a General Motors car with OnStar, no call is needed. OnStar calls dispatchers.

OnStar is able to tell probability of severe injury in an accident. Ambulances can be dispatched immediately instead of waiting for officers to arrive and assess the situation.

RapidDeploy adds location, parcel data, and mile markers, and translates text messages from 70 languages.

RapidDeploy can locate a caller within 10 feet.

RapidDeploy allows video connections between dispatchers and callers.

OnStar also helps with stolen vehicles.

Dispatchers would be able to take control of a phone and rotate video to give a view of what’s happening to help other emergency personnel.

Sheriff Jeff Soyez said the technology was a “huge game changer,” especially for search and rescue.

If a car being chased is equipped with OnStar, dispatchers use OnStar to slow down the car and shut off its engine.

Soyez said Marion County was the first county its size to be asked to take part in the OnStar program.

The county already pays for enhanced 911 service through Kansas 911 Coordinating Council. OnStar and RapidDeploy will be included at no additional charge.

All new GM cars are equipped with OnStar and come with a three-year contract, according to Anthony Monares, finance manager of Midway Motors in Newton.

If a car is not equipped with OnStar, an app could be installed on a driver’s smart phone. It would not allow interaction but could provide location services.

Last modified Feb. 15, 2023

 

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