1. #26
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    Default 911 Dispatching

    Since 911 is a governmental function and it usually has the authority under state statute(s) to levy a tax and/or fees to fund the service, your FD attorney should research any applicable state statute(s).

    Some questions the attorney could ask are:
    1. How is the 911 service funded? Does statute allow taxation, fee(s) or other taxpayer
    funds to operate the service?
    2. Is 911 obligated to dispatch fire service agencies in its jurisdiction?
    3. Who has the ultimate responsibility to operate the 911 system in your jurisdiction? Is it
    the county council, etc.. It is important to know who legally is responsible, so if there is
    a problem, you know who to approach with the problem.
    4. Does the 911 system have legal authority to require a user fee from the FD's?

    Other items of research that you or the attorney may want to know:
    1. Obtain a current and previous year budget for the 911 system. Where is the revenue
    coming from? How much? Where is the expenses? How much does the administration
    of the 911 system make (salary & benefits)? Has there been any major expenses, like
    changing to a digital system?
    2. Ask what major expenses are coming for the 911 center? (example: Purchase of
    expensive equipment (repeaters, etc.))
    3. Has there been any Federal funding recieved by this 911 center? An example, could be
    Homeland Security funding to transition to digital radio's, etc.

    Armed with this information, you should be able to figure out how the 911 system operates, how it is funded and what statutory authority it has to require your FD a user fee for service.
    Last edited by FIRE117; 01-30-2011 at 11:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    In one adjoining county - the SO, who is also the 911 PSAP, will NOT dispatch fire departments. They have one department that is dispatched by the city it is in, one that uses a "firehouse patch" (a radio phone patch that sends out two tone paging when it recieves a call) one dispatched by a local private company that runs a 24/7 ambulance dispatch, and a couple that use phone bars.

    The SO will not due it, because they have one jailer/dispatcher on shift, who may be dealing with an inmate etc.
    If the Sheriff's Department is the designated PSAP, they should be dispatching the fire departments. Two reasons are:
    1. In the eyes of the ISO, 911 dispatch is the preferred way to dispatch fire department's.
    2. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that emergency services have a
    compliant (TDD, etc.) system to recieve emergency calls. 911 is required to be
    handicapped accessible (TDD telephone answering equipment) for the general public
    to report emergencies.

    I would find out if your ISO rating is hampered by not being 911 dispatched. If you could show your elected officials (city council, etc.) that the ISO rating could be improved by being 911 dispatch, you may be able to "entice" the city council to work in your behalf to get the PSAP to dispatch you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    If the Sheriff's Department is the designated PSAP, they should be dispatching the fire departments. Two reasons are:
    1. In the eyes of the ISO, 911 dispatch is the preferred way to dispatch fire department's.
    2. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that emergency services have a
    compliant (TDD, etc.) system to recieve emergency calls. 911 is required to be
    handicapped accessible (TDD telephone answering equipment) for the general public
    to report emergencies.

    I would find out if your ISO rating is hampered by not being 911 dispatched. If you could show your elected officials (city council, etc.) that the ISO rating could be improved by being 911 dispatch, you may be able to "entice" the city council to work in your behalf to get the PSAP to dispatch you.
    Chuckle...

    Did you read what I posted? They have one dispatcher, who also handles the jail. They have no funds for anything more. To have the fire lines go into that center is a dis-service to the patrons, as well as the employees.

    So, imagine - if the Sheriffs office is that bad off, what do you think the funding for the entire county is? Per capita income 15k. Population 10k.

    ISO is the least of their worries.

  4. #29
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    We are dispatched by the SO here, but we do things slightly different. We have all the county fire, EMS, LEO agencies chip into a single cooperative to share the cost of Communication equipment. The cooperative pays for all the dispatch center equipment, all the repeaters and tornado sirens as well as the upkeep of all the equipment and the FCC Licenses for all the frequencies. The SO gets a reduction in their share of the costs because the provide the dispatchers which they share with county courthouse. When the dispatchers aren't actively dispatching out resources they have to do data entry for the SO and County Courthouse. If you don't want to pay into the cooperative you don't have to but you can't use the dispatch center, repeaters or any of the county frequencies. Since every one of the agencies is able to either directly tax the residents they serve or are a branch of someone with authority to directly tax the residents, paying into the cooperative just makes since. Why pay by yourself for something you aren't going use all the time, when you can share the cost with someone else in the exact same situation as you.

    To the previous poster we have been operating this way for over 25 years and the entire county population is just over 6k with a similar per capita income level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    If the Sheriff's Department is the designated PSAP, they should be dispatching the fire departments. Two reasons are:
    1. In the eyes of the ISO, 911 dispatch is the preferred way to dispatch fire department's.
    2. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that emergency services have a
    compliant (TDD, etc.) system to recieve emergency calls. 911 is required to be
    handicapped accessible (TDD telephone answering equipment) for the general public
    to report emergencies.

    I would find out if your ISO rating is hampered by not being 911 dispatched. If you could show your elected officials (city council, etc.) that the ISO rating could be improved by being 911 dispatch, you may be able to "entice" the city council to work in your behalf to get the PSAP to dispatch you.
    Having recently been through the ISO process with our communications office, I don't really understand your first point about Sheriff's offices and 911 dispatching.

    And to the second point, that doesn't have anything to do with someone being a PSAP or not; its the equipment and abilities to satisfy the provisions of ADA.
    My opinions only.

    AGS-SGA 091101

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    Well where I'm at where a combination department both volunteer and career so if the county were to "bill" us for dispatching they would also have to bill themselves. That probably wouldn't go over very well or make a whole lot of sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KanFireman View Post
    Since every one of the agencies is able to either directly tax the residents they serve or are a branch of someone with authority to directly tax the residents, paying into the cooperative just makes since. Why pay by yourself for something you aren't going use all the time, when you can share the cost with someone else in the exact same situation as you.

    To the previous poster we have been operating this way for over 25 years and the entire county population is just over 6k with a similar per capita income level.

    There is the rub, the taxing authority. As I pointed out, and people have made clear, every area is different. Here, the Fire Department often have no taxing authority, surviving instead on donations, subscriptions, etc. It is hard for a department bringing in 6k a year to pay for dispatching.

    Data entry for the courthouse? Wow.

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    Thanks for all of the great answers.

    It seems as though the system funding is all over the board.

    Any other input as to how it is done in your area is greatly appreciated...

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    Quote Originally Posted by afd365 View Post
    Thanks for all of the great answers.

    It seems as though the system funding is all over the board.

    Any other input as to how it is done in your area is greatly appreciated...
    Can you at least tell us what state you are in?

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    [QUOTE=LVFD301;1244223]Can you at least tell us what state you are in?[/QUOTE

    No problem, I am in California...

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    In my jurisdiction our dispatch charges $46 per dispatch just for Fire Depts which comes out to about $500,000 a year profit.....seems worth it.....

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    [QUOTE=afd365;1244232]
    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Can you at least tell us what state you are in?[/QUOTE

    No problem, I am in California...
    Since you are in California, here are several statutes that you may want to research, in regard to 911 and 911 funding in your state:

    CA Gov't Code Section 53100-53120
    53126-53127
    CA Revenue and Taxation Code Section 41150-41152
    41135-41142
    41030-41032
    CA Public Utilities Code Section 2891-2894-10

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    I don't think any agency in this area pays for dispatch as such - and I'm talking a substantial portion of NY State.

    Our county dispatch covers both PD and FD for the county seat, the sheriff, 44 VFD, and since the state police monitor both their own dispatch and the sheriff's channel, they get sent out by dispatch as well.

    There is usually a dispatcher assigned to city Pd, on to the county sheriff, and one to fire (both city and county), along with a primary call-taker (all positions take calls as needed, and can work any desk if that dispatcher is busy).

    The PSAP is managed by the county Office of Emergency Management. The head of OEM also happens to be the county fire coordinator, and his second in command actually manages the PSAP.

    There has been precious little discord over the years.

    Funding comes from phone surcharges (both landline and cell) and regular county property taxes.

    A local commercial ambulance maintains their own dispatch, although their rigs have county radios in them. Said service also provided EMD to the county under a contract for several years until the county dispatchers got up to speed on EMD.

    A federal facility also runs its own PSAP for the installation.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Our County dictatorship....oh wait, I just answered your question!
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

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    Thanks Fire117, I looked those up and there is some good info..

    Thanks to the others that posted also..

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