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  1. #1
    Dispatch Dweller Jay911's Avatar
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    Sep 1999
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    Question Merging Fire/EMS Dispatch

    Greetings all, got a few questions to pose to you.

    Just got the word last night that, barring some major crisis, by this time next year the current dispatch centers for my city's (separate) Fire and EMS services are going to merge into one, separate city agency (not DIRECTLY affiliated with either department). We (the fire and EMS dispatchers) are going to be given the opportunity to have input into how this new agency is created and developed, everything from building layout to uniform style. This agency will handle 911 answer/routing (as Fire does now), Fire dispatch, and EMS dispatch, all from the same room most likely. The question I'm looking to ask is, does anyone know of a similar agency which has undergone such a changeover in the past, and how it turned out? Anything we should watch out for/bring up/think about?

    As I say this is the very early stage of development for this, but it's spurred a bunch of excitement in the centers and a lot of people have a lot of questions going through their minds right now. Any help would be most appreciated.

    --j.


  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2002
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    PENSACOLA, FL.
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    Default Merging FIre/EMS

    The center I used to work at full-time and still work at part-time merged about 3 years ago. It was an intersting event to say the least. We use th MPDS system and that was one of the biggest concerns in the whole thing. Prior to the combining, we were dispatching Fire and were answering all 911's and routing accordingly. Our training on the MPDS, which none of us had used before, was, here it is, this is how it works, and this is how you put the call in the CAD, Good Luck! The big thing is, if you have certian systems that one or the other has been using and the others havnt, make sure all are properly trained prior to the merger. I dont know about your area, but for us, taking on EMS meant a huge increase in call volume. EMS in our county does at least 2-3 times the volume as fire and that meant a lot of changes for those of us used to having a lot of down time. One of the biggest things I think would have made the whole process smoother would have been more support for the employees. We all had questions and concerns that didnt get addressed until they became a problem. It sounds like your centers are on the right track with that. The only other thing I think would have made it go smoother would have been to find a way to get everyone cross trained on the equipment, policies and procedures, and general differences prior to combining. We were "thrown to the wolves" as they say and had to sink or swim. It all worked out in the end but I think there would have been a lot less heartburn if some small steps would have been taken ahead of time. In the long term, I do think it is a better working system having everyone together but there are some concerns we have noticed. 1. Certian people preferred to do one or the other (fire or EMS dispatch) and they would work there way around the different positions so they only did whichever they preferred. This got overlooked for a long time due to we had plenty of employees until they day came that we were shorthanded and they had to work a position the didnt like and then their shortcomings came to light due to the lack of time spent at the position. 2. The employee turnover was a lot higher for EMS compared to fire dispatch and when the two combined, the turnover didnt equal out as expected, it became a general high turnover rate due to the difficulty dispatching EMS at a buy center. 3. If possible, make preparations for new equipment, policies and procedures, and center upgrades, with the merger in consideration. The added employees and equipment can make a big difference. 4. Last and not least, we are having to consider having seperate dispatch and calltaker positions due to the increased difficulty training personnel to handle the high call volume dispatching. This may be smoething that your centers want to look at.

    I dont know if this helped any but maybe you can get something out of it.
    LOOK BEYOND THE DARKNESS OF TODAY FOR THE LIGHT OF ANOTHER TOMORROW

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