2018 was a milestone for the 9-1-1 industry. On February 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 call was made. For over 50 years 9-1-1 has been the lifeline that bridges the gap between those facing despair and chaos and first responders, making it possible to receive emergency assistance in a timely manner at a time when seconds count.
2018 also marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Jersey County 9-1-1 System. In November 1998 voters approved a referendum that placed a surcharge on landline telephones. These surcharge revenues would to be used for the purpose of building an enhanced 9-1-1 network. The Emergency Telephone System Board was created pursuant to statutory mandate to collect and disperse these monies and to implement the enhanced 9-1-1 system. Ten years later, in 2008, the enhanced 9-1-1 system went live.
While this post is a year after the fact, its never too late to celebrate the accomplishments within the industry, both nationally and locally. For more than 20 years the Jersey County Emergency Telephone System Board has worked to bring the best 9-1-1 service to the residents of Jersey County. For more than 10 years residents have enjoyed the benefit of their enhanced 9-1-1 system, a testament to commitment of the ETSB to fulfill the will of the people of Jersey County and provide them with the best 9-1-1 service possible.
As we look into the future the ETSB remains committed to the people of Jersey County and promises to continue to implement new programs, protocols, processes and technology to keep the 9-1-1 System up-to-date and ready to meet the needs of the people well into the future.
This month marks the one year anniversary of the implementation of the Jersey County 9-1-1 / Survival Flight Clearinghouse Agreement. You might ask, "What is this and what does it mean for me." Honestly, this agreement was put in place with the public in mind as another way to improve efficiency and ensure that the residents of Jersey County receive the best care in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
The premise of the agreement is simple. When a request for a helicopter to respond to a scene based emergency is received at the Jersey County Communications Center, the receiving telecommunicator contacts the Survival Flight Communications Center who then dispatches the closest available aircraft regardless of provider. Yes, you read that correctly, regardless of provider. What does this mean for you? Its easy... it means that should you need to be flown from a scene based emergency the closest available aircraft is going to be contacted. No waiting on a specific provider. This means you get where you need to be much faster.
What makes this agreement work is the cooperation and participation among the air ambulance providers. Equally beneficial is the open dialog among the participants which ensures things are working as intended. Jersey County 9-1-1 and Survival Flight are pleased to be "Partnering for Improved Public Safety" and remain committed to providing the best service possible to the residents of Jersey County now, and well into the future.
Radio communications are the primary means used to notify and communicate with first responders. Recently, it was discovered that there was a problem at one of the county's primary towers that required the replacement of a repeater and amplifier. While costly, without this replacement, notifying and communicating with firefighters with several of the county's fire protection districts was nearly impossible.
Fortunately the Jersey County Board made public safety funds available to fix the problem and we are happy to announce that the repeater and amplifier at the tower site have been replaced. While this may seem like routine maintenance to some, ensuring adequate communications with our responders is essential not only for their safety, but for the safety of the residents of Jersey County as well. Its also important for people to see cooperation within government and how their tax dollars are spent. Thank you to everyone that played a part in making this repair possible.
While April is still a couple of months away, now is the time to start thinking about how we can honor our Public Safety Telecommunicators. These men and women who work behind the scenes answering 9-1-1 calls and coordinating emergency response are truly the first, first responders and need to be honored just as we honor our law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. Take some time over the next couple of months and think about how we can thank these individuals for the job they do 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep Jersey County safe. For more information about National Public Safety Telecommunications week visit https://www.npstw.org/.
It goes without saying, improvement is good but sometimes in order to bring about improvements, there must be change. 2019 will not be an idle year for Jersey County 9-1-1 as we bring about some changes that will improve our efficiency and provide a much better level of service to the users of the 9-1-1 System.In April, the 9-1-1 System will implement the Police and Fire Priority Dispatch Systems or EPD and EFD. These protocols, offered by Priority Dispatch, will standardize how 9-1-1 calls are processed and will lead the telecommunicator in obtaining information vital to responders. Additionally, telecommunicators will be able to provide post-dispatch and pre-arrival instructions to aid callers before help arrives. The use of these protocols mean that regardless of the caller and regardless of the call-taker, every 9-1-1 call will be handled in a consistent manner.
We look forward to implementing these protocols in the coming months and better equipping ourselves to provide the best service possible to the residents and visitors of Jersey County.