City Could Move To Lorain County 911 System
Fire Chief, Commissioner Ted Kalo said firefighters would be freed up to respond to calls.
The Avon Lake fire chief wants the city to give serious consideration to moving the current 911 dispatch system, currently handled in house, over to Lorain County 911.
“Currently we have one firefighter sitting at a desk,” Chief Glen Eisenhardt said. “This would free up one firefighter per shift to run emergency calls.”
Eisenhardt said two safety studies completed in the past several years recommend using a centralized dispatched system. Eisenhardt said his department looked at several options to address dispatch including hiring a part-time dispatcher, using a combined police/fire dispatch, joining WestCom regional dispatch or the Lorain Count 911 system.
Currently Lorain County 911 collected $260,000 in revenue from Avon Lake.
The chief reported a marked increase in 911 calls and cited several areas of benefit including a station alerting system, computer aided dispatch, mobile computers used to relay information to and from dispatch and a decreased response time from call to arrival.
“This makes sense in all aspects,” Eisenhardt said. “It will improve response to increased demands on the department.”
He feels the technology will improve response times and using Lorain County’s 911 system is the most cost effective solution.
ALFD Lt. John Reitz, who assisted Eisenhardt in a presentation to council at a recent meeting, said the department learned inadvertently using the county’s system would reduce response time.
“Our (current) dispatch is kind of a middle man,” Reitz said, noting the new system will significantly reduce the number of steps involved in the response time considerably. “We believe it will help our response time considerably.”
Council needs to approve the move.
Eisenhardt is hoping to transition between Thanksgiving and Jan. 1 of 2013.
“This has to be rock solid from day 1,” Eisenhardt said.
Eisenhardt said if all goes as planned, the residents will not know a change has been made.
The proposal won accolades from Councilmen Larry Meiners and John Shondel.
“We’re going to free up a firefighter/paramedic,” Meiners said. “This is a huge step in the right direction.”
Shondel and Meiners toured the 911 center several weeks ago.
“I realized the very low cost in terms of what we’re going to get,” Shondel said.
County Commissioner Ted Kalo, who was at the council meeting on another matter, briefly spoke in support of the county’s 911 system and said Avon Lake would be 17th community in the county to use the system if council approved.
Costs to the city in new equipment would run about $160,000.
“Advantage,” Kalo said. “You just hired three new firemen for your community.”