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Central dispatch to start Dec. 17
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013 11:00 AM
The 911 advisory board on Tuesday set a launch date of Dec. 17 for the new city-county central dispatch system.
The center will be located on the second floor of the old jail building. Under the agreement, city dispatchers will become county employees and the city will cover 45 percent of all expenses, while the county will pay 55 percent.
911 Director John Hendrix said the emergency line from the city will be physically moved to the 911 offices, adding that residents still will use the same emergency numbers.
The state mandates that governments switch to the new emergency answering points system by Jan. 1, 2014.
Hendrix said the Dec. 17 launch date was established to give dispatchers a buffer in case start-up troubles occur.
"In case there are a few issues or bugs, we have a few weekdays to work with it," he said.
Also at the meeting, the board approved the locations of three fire repeaters for Canaan, Kent and Dupont fire companies. The locations were recommended by the technology committee.
The fire repeaters, which are not needed to launch the central dispatch system, will improve and expand the radio coverage in the county.
Jefferson County is a challenge for repeaters because of its terrain, the board members said, especially in the areas of Rykers Ridge and Canaan.
Currently, there are two main repeaters, one downtown at the 911 office and the main tower on the hilltop behind the Madison Township Fire Station. The board estimated the current system covers 79 to 80 percent of the county.
EMA Director Dave Bell said with the addition and location of the three repeaters, the county can increase its coverage area to 92 percent, which he said is about the best rate possible.
Hendrix also reported a change in the sick day policy for central dispatch employees.
During its budget sessions earlier this month, the County Council agreed to offer six sick days to dispatchers at the start of the year. The employees also will have the opportunity to join the employee sick bank, which is a system that safeguards employees in the event of an extended illness.
Because city workers will became county employees at the first of the year, the city has already agreed to pay out compensation time for city dispatchers. But Mayor Damon Welch, a 911 advisory board member, said the City Council would have to vote on whether or not to pay the banked sick days for current city dispatchers.
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