Pictured: 911 Director Jeff Flournoy discusses the 911 issues with the Board of Supervisors.
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from CTA consultants on various options available to help improve emergency communications in both counties. A chart presented to the Board shows that there are many areas of both counties that do not have reliable radio reception from the 911 center in Accomac. The problem is compounded on the return call aspect when reception from handheld communications devices is far worse. CTA consultants estimated that altogether there are times that only about 60% of Virginia’s Eastern Shore has dependable two way communications reception.
The problem is compounded by the age of the existing system. The current system is at the end of its useful life. Some of the components are no longer produced or supported by their manufacturers.
At the request of the 911 Commission CTA Consultants studied the various options which ranged from joining the State STARS System, combining the School System, Sheriff’s Department and 911 dispatch into one system, or building a new stand alone system for 911. The company recommend the stand alone system saying that they could provide reliable coverage for 95% of both counties. The total cost is expected to be approximately $9 million.
CTA Consultants will make the same presentation to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors at their December 10th meeting.
Several of the Supervisors stressed the need for Northampton to participate stating that a new system can’t become a reality without the full support of both counties.