Prince William County’s Department of Public Safety Communications has launched the next generation of 9-1-1, called the Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network (ESInet).

The current 9-1-1 infrastructure in Prince William and across most of the country typically allows only for the transport and transmission of voice and small packets of data, according to a news release.

But in an emergency, the call being routed to the correct 9-1-1 center and finding the person’s exact location are the two most important elements for a faster emergency response. Because earlier 9-1-1 systems have limited data and internet protocol capability, it is difficult to get more data across these networks, the county said.

Upgrading to the 9-1-1 ESInet allows the county to obtain better location information from callers and to transfer misrouted calls faster if they are actually intended for another jurisdiction.

The department anticipates that its 9-1-1 system will eventually be able to receive photos and videos in real time from the public when reporting an emergency. Other localities in Northern Virginia that have launched the 9-1-1 ESInet include Fairfax, Fauquier and Loudoun counties.

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