Upgrades coming to Magoffin County emergency response system

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - People in one eastern Kentucky county who have to dial 911 will soon receive help a little quicker.

Magoffin County officials are working to upgrade their emergency response system with enhanced mapping.

"They're doing a total re-mapping of Magoffin County," said Scott Jenkins, the county's 911 director. "That will give all the residents in Magoffin County a physical address which, in case of an emergency, when they dial 911, we'll be able to have an automatic location on them when they call."

The new mapping system will cut down on first response time by an average of two minutes per call, Jenkins said.

Around 35 percent of people who live in the county do not have a physical address and explaining their location in an emergency takes up valuable time, he said.

"A lot of people in a panic situation have trouble explaining where they live," Jenkins said. "A lot of times they can't even remember what color their house is because they're panicking. So this will give us that information immediately."

Dr. Charles Hardin, Magoffin County's judge-executive, said, "This project is going to be part of our general expansion services. Over about a five-year period we're going spend $500 thousand. Of that will be $150 thousand of local money and $350 thousand of federal and state resources."

Denise Thomas with the Big Sandy Area Development District helped secure grant money for the mapping upgrade.

Magoffin County needs the same enhanced 911 capabilities as its neighbors, Thomas said.

"The counties in the Big Sandy that do are Floyd, Johnson and Pike," she said. "Martin County has done work in that effort, as well. But Magoffin still has that work to do and it's one of a few counties across the state that do not currently have enhanced 911."

Magoffin County officials said workers are going to every home and building in the county to gather information for the new mapping system.

They hope to have it completed by the end of summer 2013.

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