First response dispatching discussion set for Wed.
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
Dec 18, 2007 - The issue of first response dispatching and staffing at the sheriff’s office are slated to be addressed this week by the Hopkins County Commissioner’s Court.
The work session begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday in meeting room 1 at Hopkins County Courthouse. The agenda calls for discussion on “staffing for the sheriff’s office, communications, first responders and dispatching.
Discussion is expected to include funding for additional communications personnel to dispatch volunteer fire departments on first responder calls.
Emergency dispatch in Hopkins County underwent a change in August, with all first response calls being transferred to Hopkins County Medical Services communications operators at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.
�Officials with county volunteer fire departments, sheriff�s office personnel, EMS and hospital personnel, county commissioners and the county fire chief last week discussed first responder dispatching. At the conclusion of the meeting, most present indicated a desire to see VFDs dispatched on medical calls by someone other than hospital dispatchers.
The consensus was that first response dispatch should move from the hospital, although specifics regarding that move were to be determined at a later date. The court is expected to address that issue during Wednesday’s work session.
�Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix began working on potential plans and options following last week�s meeting, according to Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap, and will likely be included for discussion during the work session.
�Need for more funding and personnel who have training or knowledge of that particular area were concerns discussed. Whether the dispatch will once again be handled by and at the sheriff�s office or another agency and possibly somewhere else are other issues which will likely be raised at the work session.