Tulsa hopes a new 911 center under construction will help keep Tulsa safer, in a couple of ways.
News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says they are worried about terrorism. The current 911 facility is downtown in the same block as the police station and city hall. They hope moving the 911 call center will make it a less tempting terrorist target.
The new facility at 1400 North Lansing will be one-and-a-half times larger than the current call center. Folks at Tuesdayâ€™s ground-breaking hope the new building helps continue what the city says is improving excellence.
Tulsa Fire Chief Allen LaCroix: "Our response times from time of call to time of dispatch has had a significant decrease in the amount of time it takes for a call to get out."
Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: "That call goes in, and it goes into the paramedics, and it goes to EMSA, and they get there so fast that if you have a loved one or yourself with a medical emergency, you're chances of surviving are in the Top 5 in the country."
That's important in situations where seconds matter. 911 director Dale Hunter says 80 percent of police calls and 90 percent of fire calls are answered within 10 seconds.
The current staff of more than 100 is down by about 7 or 8 people, Hunter says, folks who weren't prepared to handle the contant stress of life threatening emergencies.
6 people are training now to fill those gaps. They'll be ready in about 4 months. The building won't open until May 2007.