CALHOUN COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – One county in our region is upgrading the way it serves its residents in times of need.

It’s been 15 years since the Calhoun 911 center has been updated.

Its dispatchers are currently operating with outdated equipment, making it harder to communicate with first responders.

The Calhoun 911 center serves roughly 7,100 people.

“Where is your emergency?”

On average, they take five emergency calls per day.

It’s not a lot compared to larger, more populous counties in the state but dispatchers say because they’re so small, they’re often overlooked.

“Many times we’ve been passed by for things and now its our turn”, comments Julie Sears, Calhoun 911 Director.

The call center will undergo a half-million dollar renovation this summer – its first upgrade since 2006.

Dispatchers are using equipment that has now become old and unreliable.

“Officers would be out on calls, they would be trying to talk to the dispatcher and the dispatcher couldn’t even hear them,” says Joe Tanner with Tanner Communications.

The call center will receive a top-of-the-line three-part system, improving its communication with first responders.

“As far as calls not getting answered, every call will be handled in a timely manner and the public won’t even know a difference while we’re doing it,” remarks Tanner.

Calhoun is the only county that will get these improvements.

Money from the state’s Cares Act surplus will fund the project.

“Our people deserve the best just like anybody in Kanawha County. We need this upgrade to continue serving our people,” remarks Sears.

The renovations will be completed this fall and Calhoun County will hold an open house to show off the new improvements.