In the spirit of working together and understanding one another’s jobs, Franklin County dispatchers are being encouraged to take part in ride-alongs with fire and emergency medical service personnel.

Emergency personnel also are invited to do site visits at the county dispatch center.

“All throughout Franklin County, many agencies we dispatch for have offered (to allow ride-alongs), and we’re having some rides with them to get their perspective, as well as to share their (own) perspectives in the field,” said Abe Cook, Franklin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director.

Ride-alongs have been encouraged for about two years, but have gotten a slow start, Cook said.

Jeff Titter, fire/EMS liaison for the county 911, said the goal is to get a common operating angle to communicate effectively.

The visits provide training opportunities on an individual level and field training, Cook said. Any questions dispatchers or emergency personnel have can be answered from one another’s perspective.

“With mutual collaboration, we are trying to close any gaps that might exist,” Cook said. “It promotes a healthy work environment across the different specialties, as we all rely on communications officers to get (emergency workers) the information they need.”

Union Ambulance Director Ken Koch said EMS workers have visited the dispatchers and dispatchers have started doing ride-alongs.

Cook is a member of a fire/EMS board that has been meeting for two years.

“Having that communication and interaction between providers and dispatch we think is really helping to improve performance,” he said, adding that dispatchers also have toured the hospital to see how dispatch plays into patient care.

“They didn’t realize how important of a function they have in patient care,” he said. “They are very much a part of patient care.”

Union Fire Chief Russell Hamilton said dispatchers haven’t ridden with them yet, but, “We’re excited to be a part of it.”

Cook said he’s appreciative of the agencies allowing the interactions to happen, as well as for their openness in reaching out and visiting the dispatch center.

“We’ve had feedback from our folks that it’s really educational and great to see the other side,” he added.