Originally created 06/14/06

911 wants the 411 on area businesses



Augusta 911 dispatchers don't know about your business, but they need to.

Got guard dogs? What about hazardous chemicals? Who should they contact in an emergency?

To combat the unknowns, the Augusta 911 Center has established a new online form for business owners to update contact information and provide details that could prove critical during an emergency.

"It will give you peace of mind," center Director Phil Wasson said.

The online business registry has been available at www.augustaga.gov for a month now, but only one business has signed up: Pennington's Power Products.

The power equipment retailer on Lumpkin Road signed up after a burglary last month, co-owner Tammie Pennington said.

A Richmond County sheriff's deputy noticed an unlocked gate but wasn't sure who to contact.

"I always assumed that the police knew who we were," Ms. Pennington said. "It's a bad assumption."

During an emergency, dispatchers first notify public safety officers, but then often try to notify a contact with the business, said Jack Mims, the center's database coordinator.

Richmond County's existing database, built with information collected throughout the years, contains outdated information. A new business that occupies the space of a former business, for example, might have contact information on file from the location's previous tenant, Mr. Mims said.

The hope is that new and established businesses will update their information regularly by using the online registry, Mr. Wasson said.

The new registry system is as crucial for public safety officials as it is for business owners, Mr. Mims said.

"We want to make it safe for everybody," he said.

Ms. Pennington, for example, included information about her guard dogs to let emergency responders know to watch out for them.

Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or tony.lombardo@augustachronicle.com.

HOW TO REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS


The Augusta 911 Center has set up an online form for business owners to update contact information and add important safety information such as hazardous materials on the premises.

To register your business:


1. Visit www.augustaga.gov


2. Under the City Departments tab, scroll to Departments A-F and click on 911 Emergency Services.


3. On the left side of the screen, click on "Business Registry," fill out the form and submit.




NOT JUST FOR BUSINESS OWNERS


The 911 center will verify whether any Richmond County property is listed in the database. Visit the 911 Emergency Services Web page and click "Address Verification" on the left side of the screen.


Source: Augusta 911 Center