Snohomish County’s 911 emergency radio system is deteriorating. This past January the emergency radio system broke down. 911 service was disrupted affecting 400,000 people in many communities. Police, Fire and EMS operations were all impacted. There have been more breakdowns since then and spare parts are difficult to find. Technicians often shop online for previously used components to keep the system operating.
Can you remember a computer or cell phone like these? This was the technology when Snohomish County’s 911 Emergency Radio System started in 2001. While some parts have been upgraded, the majority of the almost 20-year-old components are still in use today.
Electronics, like most anything else, eventually degrade becoming less and less reliable until they just stop working. Many parts are no longer available for the 911 emergency radio system. In 2020 several manufacturers will no longer offer technical support. Newer digital technology provides better reliability to hear the call when you, your family or your neighbor needs help.
If approved by voters in November, Proposition 1 will:
- Ensure lifesaving 911 services by replacing old and failing emergency communications equipment
- Reduce public safety risks by adding to their emergency communications capacity
- Provide multiple local agency responders with the ability to communicate using compatible radio technology
- Guarantee reliable funding to keep improving so first responders always will hear you call
Replacing our aging 911 radio system is so important Snohomish County Council members were unanimous in agreeing to put this countywide sales tax measure on the ballot. Local officials and voters in other counties have already acted to add 1/10th of 1% in sales tax to fund emergency communications upgrades.
On the November 6 Ballot
Snohomish County Proposition 1
Emergency Communication and Facilities Sales and Use Tax
The Snohomish County Council passed Ordinance 18-037 concerning an emergency communication systems and facilities sales and use tax. This proposition would authorize the imposition of a countywide sales and use tax, in addition to any other taxes authorized by law, of one tenth of one percent (0.1% — 10 cents for every $100.00) to be used for emergency communication systems and facilities as authorized by RCW 82.14.420.
Other information of interest:
- 2018 Request for Proposal for radio system vendors
- SERS Annual Budget
- Fast Facts re: 911 Emergency Radio System
- Snohomish County Council: Ordinance 18-037 and background
- Snohomish County Council: Public Hearing Video