Ind. county improving 911 response time with new system

Within the next few months, the Madison County Dispatch Center will be implementing a new computer-aided system that will affect emergency responders countywide


By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — In emergencies, seconds matter with many instances being a life-or-death situation.

Within the next few months, the Madison County Dispatch Center will be implementing a new computer-aided system that will affect emergency responders countywide.

Currently when a 911 call for a medical emergency is received at the Dispatch Center, the dispatchers have to access a flip file that provides how to provide assistance.

Brent Jensen, director of the Dispatch Center, said Madison County is joining up to 20 other Indiana counties in using the Power Phone system.

Jensen explained that a computer screen will appear with a check box when the dispatcher types in the nature of the emergency. The information appears instantly on the computer screen, he said.

There is a list of questions to aid the dispatchers, he said, and at the same time the 911 call can be transmitted to another person to dispatch emergency units.

As an example, if the initial dispatcher learns a person is not breathing, the Power Phone system will provide information on performing CPR or other initial medical treatment until the first responders arrive.

The system is costing $70,000 with the state providing $35,000 for training. Jensen said the new system should be installed within the next four months.

“The state mandates emergency medical dispatch which is covered by the flip cards,” Jensen said. “It’s clumsy to use the flip cards.”

Currently, while typing information pertaining to an emergency call into the computer system, the dispatcher has to find and read the correct flip card.

All that information will now automatically appear on the dispatcher’s computer screen, he said.

Jensen said the Power Phone system will also provide dispatchers with the protocols for each of the county’s 15 fire departments as to what units to dispatch.

“It will make the response time quicker,” he said.

In the event of a house fire, Jensen said Power Phone will provide instructions to the dispatchers on how people can exit a structure safely.

“There are standard instructions,” he said. “Power Phone will cover the county’s liability as long as the protocols are followed.”

Todd Cawthorn, deputy chief with the Anderson Fire Department, said each fire department has its own protocols on what equipment to dispatch to certain situations.

“This will be a seamless transition so we will know what resources that need to be dispatched,” he said. “The information will be available on a computer screen in each truck.

“We will be more aware of the situation before arriving at the scene and what needs to be done,” Cawthorn said.

Jensen said Power Phone has nationwide protocols built into the system, but it can be edited for local needs.

“This will guide the people at the scene on what medical procedures to start before the professionals can arrive,” Cawthorn said.

Copyright 2018 The Herald Bulletin

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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