Wednesday, November 15, 2006

E-911 program nears full operation

Full-time director for consolidated communications center requested


By STEVE BENSON
Express Staff Writer

The multi-faceted E-911 program that is enhancing emergency response across Blaine County is pegged to be fully operational by mid-December and is in need of a director, according to the Blaine County Communications Committee (BC3), which is responsible for overseeing the program.

BC3 board members met with the Blaine County Commission Tuesday to request funds for a full-time communications director, who will be responsible for managing, supervising and coordinating the activities and operations in the new consolidated dispatch center.

E-911, or Enhanced 911, uses a vast array of technologies that allow emergency dispatchers to see a caller's name, phone number, physical address and map on a computer screen. It also tells dispatchers which type of emergency response and agency needs to be dispatched.

Blaine County has two ambulance responders, five law enforcement responders and seven fire responders. Other details, such as the best route to take to the scene of an emergency, will also be relayed to responders.

In a nutshell, the program is designed to create a consolidated dispatch center for the entire county and its municipalities.

The only missing component of the E-911 program is the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, which will allow dispatchers to see the exact address of callers.

According to Ketchum Police Chief Cory Lyman, who represents police chiefs on the BC3 board, the CAD system will go live in about a month.

The Blaine County Commission, which directs funding in the E-911 budget, permitted the BC3 board to begin searching for a full time director, a position that, among other things, will require five years of experience in emergency communications or public safety dispatch and two years of administrative and supervisory experience.

In the meantime, Ed Fuller, a captain with the Blaine County Sheriff's Department, will become the interim director of the communications center.

While the exact pay for the full time position has yet to be determined, Lyman said it "will require a reasonable salary."




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