Claremore Daily Progress

January 23, 2013

Fire dispatch pilot program launched

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Rogers County E911 Trust Authority and the Verdigris Fire Department are joining forces to launch a new pilot program to provide effective training to county dispatchers.

The Rogers County Board of County Commissioners approved the measure Monday that authorizes the creation of the partnership.
The BOCC has not formally approved the E911 Trust Authority to manage the affairs of the E911 Center, as contract negotiations continue for the two entities.
Rogers County will begin dispatching for the Verdigris Fire Department on a test or pilot program basis.
During the trial, the county dispatchers will receive training from Verdigris Fire Department employees and in return will provide dispatching service.
The agreement will provide a mutual benefit and will be at no charge to either party.
This move, by the E911 Trust Authority, will provide necessary training in advance of opening the new E911 Center.
Last week, Verdigris Fire Chief Mike Shaffer pitched the plan to area fire chiefs and the E911 Trust Authority Board.
The pilot program will provide an opportunity for dispatchers to learn how to effectively dispatch fire services for the area, according to Shaffer.
Additionally, fire emergencies such as “Mayday” situations are significantly different then the way a dispatcher would handle a police emergency.
Mayday is a situation in which a firefighter is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.
It is similar to the call of “officer down,” yet handled in a different manner completely, according to Shaffer.
The pilot program would also provide dispatchers the opportunity to receive training from experienced fire department dispatchers.
Another significant differences  between fire and police dispatch involves the use of “codes.”
E911 Director Janet Hamilton gave a brief statement to the BOCC about how the pilot program will benefit the county.
“It is a great opportunity to learn, while getting our feet wet,” Hamilton said.
The benefit for other agencies includes extensive cross training for county dispatchers, according to Hamilton. The program will provide training so that when the new E911 Center opens, the dispatchers will be prepared for any situation on day one, she said. Other area fire departments will be supporting the pilot program and reviewing reports during the E911 Trust Authority meetings. The program will allow all the groups involved to weigh in on possible changes or improvements that may be needed. Initially, the pilot program will begin during the day shift, however it could transition into the evening hours. The public will see no change in service, during the program as the Verdigris Fire Department will maintain consistent staff levels during the process.