Medical dispatch shifts to Hopkins Co. EMS

By FAITH HUFFMAN |  News-Telegram News Editor

Aug 17, 2007 - Emergency dispatch in Hopkins County underwent a change at noon today, with all first response calls being transferred to Hopkins County Medical Services communications operators.

The switch from fire department first response calls being dispatched by Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office to Hopkins County EMS was approved by Hopkins County commissioners as a means to reduce the workload of overtaxed dispatchers at HCSO.

�The sheriff�s office is transferring first response dispatch to EMS today. EMS will now be responsible for all first response dispatch since they go on all medical calls. This will take a little bit of the load off our dispatchers, and allow them to concentrate a little more on law enforcement calls,� Rickey Morgan, chief deputy for HCSO said shortly before the noon change-over.�

�We will still be handling all other calls including dispatching fire departments to motor vehicle accidents, structure fires and other fire calls,� Sheriff Butch Adams said.

The switch is expected to take a few days for the transition to become completely effective, giving each call center time to instruct their communications operators on the change and how to proceed accordingly.

From now on, when a first response call is answered at the sheriff’s office on the 911 line, the sheriff’s dispatcher upon learning that the emergency is a medical call will immediately transfer the call to Hopkins County EMS for their staff to determine what further action is required.

HCSO Communications Supervisor Ron Lowrie faxed a letter just before the dispatch conversion addressed to all volunteer fire departments and the county judge notifying them the change was to take place immediately, then broadcast at noon over the emergency radio to all emergency entities notifying of the change.

�Hopkins County Sheriff�s Office dispatch will cease data management for medical calls. The Sheriff�s Office will continue to dispatch all other types of incidents including Motor Vehicle Accidents, Structure Fires, Grass Fires, Vehicle Fires, HazMat Calls, Etc.,� the letter states.

The letter to “all volunteer fire departments” also specifies that all first response inquiries should be directed to Hopkins County EMS.

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