Nov. 5, 2011 at 8:27 PM ET
In an emergency, every second counts — and next-generation dispatch systems are using computer technology to save time and save lives.
Today on "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Tom Costello focuses on the computer-aided dispatch system used in metropolitan Denver. When a 9-1-1 call comes in, the dispatcher can send out automated voice alerts, addresses, images and maps with the click of a computer key. The system identifies the closest fire-rescue team by checking GPS readings, and guides the team to the scene of the emergency.
Thanks to the high-tech upgrade, south Denver has cut its average dispatch time to 31 seconds. In comparison, the national standard is 60 seconds. Quicker action could make the difference between life and death, says Eric Hurst, a dispatch supervisor for South Metro Fire Rescue.
"if a person has stopped breathing, every second that ticks by, we're risking brain damage, we're risking death of that person," Hurst says in the NBC video.
A growing number of cities across the country, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, are upgrading their emergency response systems with such time-saving technologies.
More about emergency response tech:
This item was revised to clarify that the times cited refer to dispatch time rather than the total response time, which includes travel to the scene of an emergency.
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