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Emergency phone to be installed at Tibble Fork area

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Posted at 10:47 PM, Jan 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-10 00:47:30-05

AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah -- Coming this spring, those who recreate in the Tibble Fork area in American Fork Canyon will have access to emergency dispatch.

It's a move aimed at saving lives after a fatal avalanche last year.

Last February, BYU student Ashleigh Cox was killed in an avalanche in the Tibble Fork area of American Fork Canyon. Her friends had to drive 15 minutes down the canyon just to get cellphone reception to call 911.

“We’ve actually been trying for years, even before Ashleigh was killed in the avalanche, to try to get a phone up there because we saw a need,” said Lone Peak Batallion Chief Joe McRae.

After Cox's death, Lone Peak Fire asked the public to help fund an emergency phone for the canyon.

Ryan Porter , President of of Orem-based Live View Technologies, says he knew his company had to step up to the plate.

“When you've got the answer you`ve gotta do something with the answer,” Porter said.

Live View Technologies has offered to fund, install, and provide support for Tibble Fork Reservoir's first-ever emergency phone, Lone Peak Fire will also have access to live steaming video of the area.

“We can bring communication to anywhere, so same as video we can put an emergency phone on it,” Porter said.

The phone will be installed in the parking lot in the Tibble Fork area. It will be solar powered and operated by Live View at an estimated cost of $40,000, which the company offered up for free.

“We put our needs on the table for him and he said ‘I have a solution’ and they far exceeded our expectation,” McRae said.

According to Live View Technologies, it`ll only take up about three feet of space in the Tibble Fork Reservoir parking lot. The emergency phone will connect users directly to emergency dispatch.

“If a person is hurt up there now, they have 15 minutes to go down the canyon, make the call, then our response is 15 minutes up the canyon so that`s half an hour and, if there`s a critical situation, that can mean the difference between life and death,” McRae said.

McRae said in 2014, his fire department responded to at least 30 heavy trauma calls, but the death of Cox was the final straw.