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App will provide detailed information to 3-1-1

App makes 3-1-1 faster, more specific

Posted: February 8, 2012 - 1:07am
Stephanie Pilcher, 3-1-1 supervisor, displays the new smartphone app that allows people to take a photo concerning a service request, such as a stray animal or code violation, and send it directly to 3-1-1. The app pinpoints the location and shows county personnel exactly what to look for.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Stephanie Pilcher, 3-1-1 supervisor, displays the new smartphone app that allows people to take a photo concerning a service request, such as a stray animal or code violation, and send it directly to 3-1-1. The app pinpoints the location and shows county personnel exactly what to look for.

There’s an app for that.

Columbia County residents will soon have a smart-phone application to submit information to 3-1-1.

Officials will unveil the Citizen Reporter app Feb. 21 at the Emergency Operations Center in Evans.

“It is very simple to do,” Emer­gency and Operations Division Director Pam Tucker said. “This will really give residents the tools they need to get the information to us.”

At the presentation, county experts will give a brief demonstration showing how the app gets information to 3-1-1 and passes it along to the county department that needs to respond.

Residents can get help downloading the app. They will be able take photos, video or audio clips. That information will automatically be combined with a GPS location of the image or clip and sent directly to 3-1-1 personnel.

“It is just more specific information,” 3-1-1 Supervisor Stephanie Pilcher said. “It is exactly what is going in real time.”

The app can be used to report safety hazards, such as trees, ice, potholes, dead animals or debris on roadways; downed street signs; barking dogs; and illegal dumping, among many other things.

Such detailed information allows the departments to prioritize service requests.

The information also streamlines the reporting and responding process, Tucker said. For instance, a photo allows Animal Services personnel to more accurately decide how much manpower is needed to remove a dead animal from a road, or shows Roads and Bridges employees which downed street sign needs to be replaced.

“Hopefully, this will help us do a whole lot better on our end,” Tucker said.

It will save time and resources, she said. With budget cuts becoming common, Tucker said technology will allow county departments to do more with less.

When reporting a child or animal inside a car in a crowded parking lot, a photo of the tag number or the car model would allow deputies to more quickly locate the vehicle.

“It’s just way more efficient,” Pilcher said, adding that county employees have been testing the app to work out any glitches.

The app likely will be more appealing to the younger generation. Instead of remembering a phone number or having to make a call, they can simply use the app. In addition to being available at the presentation, the app will be available to download from the county Web site, www.columbiacountyga.gov. For more information, call (706) 868-3303 or 3-1-1.

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