The Tazewell County Emergency Telephone System Board was established in 1988 after voters of Tazewell County passed a referendum to establish an enhanced 9-1-1 telephone system. In February of 1993, Tazewell County went “live” with it’s enhanced 9-1-1 system.

Prior to this date, Tazewell County operated what was known as a basic 9-1-1 system. While a 9-1-1 call came into a dispatch center on a dedicated line, there was no information attached to the call to determine where it originated from. Attempts to trace a basic 9-1-1 call could often take hours.

The enhanced 9-1-1 system allows all 9-1-1 calls to be directed to the dispatch center responsible for dispatching police, fire and emergency medical services to that specific address. All enhanced 9-1-1 calls provide the answering telecommunicator with the name and address of the caller. Information that used to take hours to trace is now available the instant a 9-1-1 call is received.

In 2001, the Tazewell County Emergency Telephone System Board began taking wireless 9-1-1 calls. Prior to this date, wireless 9-1-1 calls often came into a dispatch center on a non-emergency number. No information on the calling party was available to the answering telecommunicator. As of 2005, all wireless carriers in Tazewell County are providing Phase II wireless 9-1-1 service. This allows the telecommunicator to not only receive a callback number but also the latitude and longitude that the call was made from. To show how far we have come, in 2006, over 60% of all 9-1-1 calls placed in Tazewell County came from cellular phones.

The Tazewell County Emergency Telephone System Board is actively working with Voice Over Internet phone providers to establish enhanced 9-1-1 call routing for VoIP customers.

What does the future of 9-1-1 hold? Perhaps voice, text or video emergency calling from any communications device. Whatever the case may be, the Tazewell County Emergency Telephone System Board is prepared to step up and meet the challenges inherent with the next generation of 9-1-1.