And, first responders can't afford to lose a single second to a call for help that may not reach them.
Wednesday night, potentially lifesaving news for rural Woodbury County Fire and Emergency Service agencies.
The Woodbury County 911 Service Board authorized the purchase of more than 480 new pagers for each member of the 14 fire and EMS agencies throughout the county.
Every person will have a pager thanks to this project.
The county communications director says the new pagers will bring many benefits, and offer new ways to efficiently respond to calls.
"With the new technology now, we'll actually be able to page and use the Starcomm radio system for paging on our 800 proof radio system," said Glenn Sedivy, communications director for Woodbury County. "So, it's a much better paging system than what they've been using over the last 12 years."
In all, the pagers will cost about $400,000.
The board set aside money for the pagers during the budgeting process, last fall.
The funding will come from the 911 surcharge that they collect on a monthly basis from all the phones that can access 911.
The new pagers should be operational by the beginning of next year.