Lee County to approve emergency dispatch upgrade

In an emergency minutes count, which is why Lee County is looking to upgrade their current radio system.

Commissioners could approve the first phase of a three-year project Tuesday that will allow new antennas to be placed on their communication tower, to improve the 70,000 signals that dispatch teams to destinations in emergencies.

Virginia Braddick knows the importance of time, just four months ago she called 911 when her husband fell.

“He was playing with the dog, she was real little then and they were pulling, tug-of-war, he went backwards and hit the table and he couldn’t get up,” she said.

This all happened during Subtropical Storm Alberto, a time when emergency service calls spiked.

And with an old radio system, some calls don’t get taken care of as quickly as they should.

“The current system the County operates under has been in existence for 30 years,” said Director of Public Safety Bejamin Abes. “We’re undertaking a project right now that would take the system from its current analog state to a fully digital state-of-the-art system.”

The difference could mean life or death for those making the calls.

Virginia learned after calling 911 that the ambulance came but was stopped blocks away due to muddy roads.

She says even the dispatch operator on the phone had no idea about the holdup.

“If he would have had a heart attack he would’ve died,” she said.

The three-year project will total $15 million, most of which will be funded by state grants.

Reporter:Janae Muchmore
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