Franklin County’s new emergency dispatch system is now fully active.
“This is really, really a huge thing for our citizenry and for our first responders, mutually,” First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker said.
The new computer-aided dispatch system will serve 10 fire and ambulance districts that Franklin County 911 dispatches for.
Increased safety for first responders and law enforcement officers is among the benefits of the new system, Brinker said.
It also enhances public safety and improves the efficiency of operations, he said, adding that the new system can more effectively allocate resources.
“It will cost less in the long run to operate this dispatch than the old system,” Brinker said.
Calls that come into dispatch will be identified within seconds on a map.
“This is going to enhance performance and increase response times,” Brinker said.
Franklin County 911 Director Vince Zagarri said, “We’ve been working on this project a long time,” noting that initial implementation was in early 2009.
For several months the county’s old 911 system was running parallel with the new system. But now that the new $75,000 system has been tested and is working well, the old one was turned off April 25.
Before the old system was shut down, Zagarri said he wanted to triple check data to make sure the new one was routing calls correctly.
“This is very state-of-the-art equipment,” Zagarri said.
The new system can provide information in terms of the equipment needed for different calls.
It also allows instantaneous communication to responders with smartphones.
“I’m just very exited about all of the technical advancements we’ve made and the future of 911 for Franklin County,” Zagarri said.
While the new CAD system is done, it can continually be enhanced. As police and fire agencies begin using computer tablets, the dispatch system will be compatible with them.
Another advantage to the system is that it allows information about potentially hazardous sites to be entered into a database. This way when responders are arriving at a scene they will know more about what to expect, Zagarri said.
The new CAD system is located inside of the Bruns Communication Center at the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement agencies use a different CAD platform, Zagarri said.
But dispatchers have been cross-trained to run both systems, he said, adding that 20 dispatchers were trained on the new system.