Lawmakers hear ideas for 911 system makeover

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Aug 25, 2013 6:44 AM

(Lewistown) -- State lawmakers are getting an earful from telephone industry representatives as they consider possible changes to the state's 911 law.

Frank Buzydlowski is director of government relations for Verizon, and one of several phone company leaders to testify recently before a House committee in Lewistown, Mifflin County.

He says nearly 70 percent of 911 calls now come from cell phones, and lawmakers should keep that in mind as they craft a new bill.

"Our new Pennsylvania 911 statute must fairly accommodate both today's new technologies and those yet to emerge," Buzydlowski says. "It must provide a firm foundation for the 911 system of the future without stifiling innovation or discouraging new technologies."

Buzydlowski says the current county-by-county system is not the most efficient way to handle 911 services.

He says any changes should promote consolidation, like such systems already in place in northern and western Pennsylvania.

The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee has been holding the hearings around the state to gather information on 911 systems.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 18 in Pittsburgh.

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