Disaster simulation to be held at E-911 center

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A disaster simulation event will likely be held at the Barry County E-911 Operations Center in Cassville later this year. Mike Phillips, county E-911 director, announced preliminary plans at the Barry County Emergency Services Board meeting on Monday night.

"My goal would be to establish or open the operations center and simulate a real disaster so staff knows what to expect and what to do," said Phillips. "This is something that has not been practiced on a large scale and would help identify weaknesses and things that need to be improved."

Phillips said details for the event have not been worked out at this time. He has also not scheduled a date at the event, but he hopes to hold the simulation sometime this fall.

"Summer time is a busy time at the operations center," said Phillips. "I would like to hold it after we slow down after summer time."

Phillips also reported that he attended a meeting with Cox Ambulance services on March 11. The meeting was held to discuss dispatching and improving communications between Barry County E-911 and the Cox dispatch center in Springfield.

Currently, when the operations center receives a call for emergency services the E-911 dispatcher asks a series of questions to determine if an ambulance is needed. If the caller lives within the service area for Cox ambulance services the E-911 dispatcher must transfer the call to the Cox dispatching center in Springfield and the Cox dispatcher asks the same series of question before dispatching the Cox ambulance.

Phillips once again shared the E-911 center's interest in providing dispatching and emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) services on all calls. EMD services allow dispatchers to give medical advice like CPR, baby delivery and trauma care over the phone using nationally approved standards, said Phillips.

Cox representatives stated that they want to remain in control of their dispatching services.

"No change at this time with the way the two centers dispatch," said Phillips. "We did discuss increasing two way communications, and Cox said they are willing to let us have their frequency to monitor the crews. They are going to try and get us a radio in dispatch to monitor."

If E-911 dispatchers are able to hear and communicate with Cox ambulance crew members they can help ambulance drivers find the locations of emergencies more quickly. In the past, some ambulance crews have been dispatched from the Springfield area and drivers are unfamiliar with Barry County making it difficult to find certain residences.

Phillips' director's report also included information on mapping and addressing.

"The City of Cassville is currently reviewing some address changes," said Phillips. "Barry County E-911 does have the latest information in the dispatch center. If Cassville decided to make some changes, we will update accordingly."

Phillips said that he has received information that the city is considering address changes for around 15 to 20 percent of residences.

Phillips released end of the year statistics with his report.

The Barry County E-911 Operations Center received 112,958 calls in 2012. Of those calls, 12,950 were 911 emergencies, which is a 13 percent increase over last year when 911 calls totaled 11,193.

The operations center handled 25,486 law enforcement calls, including 12,254 calls for the Barry County Sheriff's Office and 5,898 calls for the Cassville Police Department. Other calls were for area fire departments, 1,162, rescue, 1,897, and emergency medical services, 2,289.

In other business, the Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board:

* Approved the financial report and the bills for the coming quarter.

* Received a clean audit report from Kurt Kruger, of CPA Group.

* Set the next quarterly board meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 24.

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