Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is PSERN?Radio_Tower_McDonald_Point

A: PSERN is a construction project that will replace the current and nearly 20-year-old emergency radio communications network with a new emergency radio communications network.

Q: What are emergency radio communications networks used for?

A: When we call 9-1-1, a dispatcher sends us police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical staff using a separate radio system known as the King County Emergency Radio Communications System. The same system is used by these responders to coordinate their activities at emergency incidents and to communicate with managerial staff that is directing their response to the incident.

Q: Why do we need a new emergency radio communications network?

A: The current network is approaching 20 years old. Parts of the system are wearing out and, over time, will be subject to increased risk for service outages, dead spots in coverage, and will make effective communications for emergency responders more difficult. Additionally, by the end of 2018, the vendor we use for the current system will no longer supply new and replacement parts for the system.

Q: Can’t we just replace a couple of parts or migrate rather than replacing the whole system?

A: The parts that the current system uses won’t be compatible with the new network. In addition, the current system cannot support the new technology PSERN will have.

Q:  Why must a new system be funded now rather than later? What are the risks of delaying funding until later?

A: The longer we delay after spare parts and repairs cease to be available at the end of 2018, the system will lose capacity and coverage area. This will make effective communications for emergency responders more difficult.

With the above said, we have taken certain precautionary steps to address system problems if this does occur. For example, we have purchased a cache of spare parts. If we do not have a part or our supply runs out we would then look to purchase the part from a secondary vendor.

Read all of the FAQ’s about PSERN.