When a lake area resident calls 911 with an emergency, chances are numerous emergency personnel in the area will respond. Local fire departments and protection districts recently met to discuss the efficiency of this current procedure.
Firefighters are trained to be first responders by providing basic life support in a medical emergency, but the reality is that some calls do not require such care.
"We are frequently dispatched to calls where first responders are not needed," Mid County Fire Chief Scott Frandsen said.
Frandsen was familiar with a call system used by Mercy EMS and feels as if it would make sense for the lake area. If lake departments adopt this new priority dispatch system, only departments that are really needed will respond to a call. Dispatchers would be trained to ask very detailed questions to find out who exactly to send.
Frandsen said that this system would address budget and personnel concerns. One question he asked regarding this new system was "Are we driving our trucks to calls when we aren't needed?" He feels as if this new system would lower budget issues since only vehicles that were necessary would be used.
He also said that many times firefighters are tied up on a call and sometimes not needed when an additional possibly more urgent call comes in. In 2012 alone, Frandsen said that Mid County Fire Protection District had 208 overlapping calls.
Now, what happens if the call is life threatening or becomes life threatening once officials arrive on scene?
"If it is an obvious life threatening or urgent call, Camden County will dispatch us immediately," Frandsen said. "At any point during the call, we can be requested."
Frandsen feels as if this new system would help the department to be more efficient and would not tamper with the type of service they give residents. "We don't feel that this will be reducing our level of service," he said.
Mid County Fire Protection District along with Northwest Fire Protection District, Southwest Fire Protection District, Coffman Bend, FF 14-17, Sunrise Beach Fire Department, Camdenton City Fire Department, Lake West and Mercy EMS were present at the recent meeting to discuss the possibility of adopting this policy in all districts. Since Camden County Sheriff's Department dispatches all of these entities, the hope is that everyone adopts the same policy.
According to Frandsen, most districts were on board.
The City of Camdenton is still weighing the pros and cons according to Fire Chief Drew Stark. City Administrator Brenda Colter is in charge of researching this topic and plans to bring it in front of the Board of Aldermen at an upcoming meeting.
"We were the only ones at meeting that still had questions wanting answers," Stark said.
Page 2 of 2 - Chief Frandsen is in the process of drafting up a sample policy to send to all fire districts and departments. Each governing board will then have an opportunity to vote on the new system.