Four government bodies in Burke County, N.C., have joined together to improve emergency communications. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Burke County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the cities of Morganton and Valdese have consolidated their public safety answering points (PSAPs). Burke County officials were concerned about pending state legislation that would require a minimum number of positions in PSAPs. When this requirement took effect, it would have dramatically increased the number of positions and the financial expense of operating the four PSAPs in the county…. So, Burke County hired Mission Critical Partners, Inc. (MCP), a public-safety communications consulting firm headquartered in Port Matilda, Pa., to conduct a feasibility study. When the firm concluded that consolidation indeed was feasible, Morganton’s public safety department applied for a state grant. The result was a $7.4 million award that led to the construction of the county’s new 9-1-1 center, which replaced the four aforementioned PSAPs…..