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9-1-1 System Overview

The Mid-America Regional Council serves as the coordinating agency for the Kansas City Regional 9-1-1 System, which handles almost two million emergency calls each year. The regional system is coordinated through a number of committees and task forces comprised of representatives of local governments. The system is served by public safety answering points (PSAPs) operated by government agencies.

Mission

The mission of the regional public safety communications program is to maintain, enhance and coordinate the 9-1-1 system as the primary means of access for those in the region who need emergency public safety services and to enhance the ability of public safety personnel and emergency responders to effectively communicate through all phases of emergency incidents and planned events.

The major benefit of 9-1-1 to citizens and public safety agencies is the amount of time saved in the overall response of a public safety agency to an emergency. The total time required in response to a perceived emergency is the sum of:

  • The time from when the citizen perceives an emergency to the time he or she reaches the correct answering point, plus
  • The time from reception of a call by the agency to the time the emergency service vehicle is dispatched to the scene of the emergency, plus
  • The time from the dispatch of the emergency service vehicle until it arrives at the scene of the emergency.

A 9-1-1 system can save valuable minutes in that initial period of time when reaching the appropriate emergency agency can mean life or death.

Who pays for 9-1-1?

We all do. Costs for the regional 9-1-1 system are shared by nine counties on a per capita basis. Each county pays for its share of the cost by collecting 9-1-1 surcharges from both residential and commercial phone customers. Customers pay the surcharge when they pay their monthly phone bills. The surcharge has been in place for most of the region since 1983. State law requires counties to review the surcharge rate each year. It costs more than $5 million per year to operate the 9-1-1 system in the nine-county metro area.

How is the 9-1-1 system administration coordinated?

Regional 9-1-1 service has been coordinated through the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) since 1983. MARC serves as the association of city and county governments and the metropolitan planning organization for the bistate Kansas City region. In addition to public safety, MARC addresses issues such as transportation, aging services, air quality, solid waste, recreational and cultural amenities, child care, groundwater protection, and provides economic demographic research.

A 9-1-1 Interlocal Cooperation Agreement, signed by counties in the region, formalized the cooperation among governments for the regional 9-1-1 emergency telephone number system. By signing the agreement, participating counties commited to:

  • Implementing a region-wide modernization of the 9-1-1 equipment used by public safety answering points.
  • Sharing the operational, administrative and maintenance costs of the regional 9-1-1 system on a per capita basis.
  • Establishing an oversight policy and coordinating committee for the ongoing management of the regional 9-1-1 system.

The 9-1-1 Interlocal Cooperation Agreement covers public safety answering points in nine counties; Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray in Missouri. The coordination of 9-1-1 service assures that no matter where you live in the region, you'll have access to the same responsive, high quality 9-1-1 service in an emergency. Standardization of equipment allows local communities to share a common support system, everything from training to spare parts. Cooperation allows communities to stay abreast of new ideas and technology and build a cohesive 9-1-1 system for the future.

MARC, with guidance from the Public Safety Communications Board, engages in the following activities and projects:

  • Monthly review of the 9-1-1 system telephone bills and allocation to counties based on a per capita formula.
  • Audit of all 9-1-1 system telephone bills by all providers.
  • Development and coordination of region-wide public education and promotion efforts.
  • Development and coordination of region-wide training opportunities for public safety communications personnel.
  • Monthly review of all PSAP trouble reports, telephone company network outage reports, and action taken.
  • Coordinating activities of the 9-1-1 committees and task forces.
  • Reviewing 9-1-1 surcharge fund balances and tax rates.
  • Maintaining 9-1-1 selective routing database, disaster recovery plan, and repair escalation procedures.
  • Coordinating inside cover (emergency numbers) printing of white and yellow pages telephone directories.

For more information about the Regional 9-1-1 System, call 816/474-4240 or e-mail to e911@marc.org.