First response dispatch expected to be moved

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec 12, 2007 - In the near future, first emergency response dispatches will likely no longer be handled by Emergency Medical Services dispatchers at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.

Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said that was the consensus following Tuesday nightis meeting with volunteer fire department chiefs and others “to discuss EMS and dispatching for VFDs and county fire agencies.”

Who will do the dispatching and how the first responder dispatch is to be conducted has yet to be determined however.

County commissioners along with the judge, sheriff and chief deputy, county and EMS communications supervision, representatives from the 12 volunteer fire departments and the county fire chief were all on hand for the session, which the judge called a “successful meeting.” 

Concerns were expressed regarding Hopkins County EMS dispatching first responders on medical calls, why the change was made earlier this year from the county to the hospital, and the possibilities for change. Most indicated their belief that first responder dispatch should be moved from the hospital.

Another concern centered on the cost of effectively staffing first response dispatch, an issue noted when dispatch of volunteer fire departments was switched from the sheriff’s office to the hospital. The cost of more equipment, as well as where it and the dispatchers should be located, were also noted to be among the logistics that need to be considered. 

Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix began working last night on a potential plan for change, according to Millsap. 

�We are working on a plan to move dispatch once the logistics are worked out," Millsap said. "The commissioners will hold work sessions, maybe as early as next week, about it.:

Millsap also said Nix is working on a plan to go out for a grant for equipment, Millsap said.

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