New phone service launches in Nevada County this week | SierraSun.com

New phone service launches in Nevada County this week

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Dial 211 went live in Nevada County this week, giving callers access to a plethora of health and human service information.

The three-digit phone number is becoming the standard across the nation for getting information on anything from health care to employment. Nevada County has had a website, http://www.dial211.com, up for a about three years, but launched the phone number Wednesday.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re the first rural county going live with 211,and#8221; said Holly Tassone, certified resource specialist with the county.

Both the website and the phone number access 1,260 different agencies and almost 2,500 different services, Tassone said.

Dial 211 started nationally after the Olympic bombing in Atlanta in 1996 and#8212; when the government started assigning three digit numbers beyond 911 to other services, she said.

And now 211 serves as sort of a back-up to 911.

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and#8220;A lot of things happen after the emergency that arenand#8217;t true emergencies themselves, like; and#8216;where are shelters, how am I going to get out of my house or where do I take my dog?and#8217;and#8221; Tassone said.

Nevada Countyand#8217;s Dial 211 will be run out of Sacramentoand#8217;s call center, with 18 to 25 call specialists answering the phones, bypassing the prohibitive costs of starting a new center, Tassone said.

For now, Nevada Countyand#8217;s Dial 211 will pay $7 a call to Sacramento, paid through contributions from the various organizations it represents across the county, grants and Homeland Security funding, she said.

But as more rural counties turn to the Sacramento call center, Tassone said she expects that price to come down. As it stands now, there is enough funding for about two years of service.

Tassone said she and others from Nevada County have gone down to train at the Sacramento call center, making sure the people at the other end understand what people in places like Truckee are dealing with.

and#8220;Say you just moved into Truckee and are looking for a preschool, the agent can look at your zip code and pull up options for places they could call,and#8221; Tassone said.

Depending on the situation, the agent can follow up with the caller, making sure they got the services needed.

Itand#8217;ll take another one to three months to get Dial 211 up and running on cell phones, Tassone said.

To learn more, go to http://www.dial211.com. For those experiencing technical difficulties or looking for more information, Tassone can be contacted at 265-7094.