Frequently Asked Questions

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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: How much will PSERN cost and how will it be paid for?
A: The project, including sites, equipment, labor, sales tax, and interest on the bonds will cost approximately $273 million.  The Metropolitan King County Council has approved a measure to be placed on the April 28th, 2015 ballot to fund the project.

Q: Is this network the same as 911?
A: No. When we call 9-1-1, a dispatcher sends us police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical staff using a separate radio system. This system is used as a means for first responders to communicate with dispatch and each other at during emergencies.

Q:  Who will benefit from the new radio network?
A: The system will be used by first responders in each city in the County as well as by responders in the unincorporated County.   Other users such as hospitals, utilities, transportation agencies, school districts and general governmental users will also benefit.  The general public will benefit because each of these users will better be able to do their jobs.

Q: How do I calculate how much my property taxes will increase?
A: A guide to calculating your property tax increase can be found on the Department of Revenue Washington State Web site   http://dor.wa.gov/docs/pubs/prop_tax/homeown.pdf   page 3

Q: Will encryption be used?
A: Encryption will be available, but to date no policy decisions about its use has been made.  Each user agency will make the decision to use or not to use the technology.  Centralized policy decisions will not be made until approximately 2019 and those meetings will be open to the public for public comment.  Watch this website for further information about these meetings and policy discussions.

Q: How long will the system last before we need to fund a new one?
A: The new system will last at least 20 years.

Read all of the FAQ’s about PSERN.