The Owensboro-Daviess County 911 center has a goal of dispatching emergency units within 90 seconds of receiving a 911 call.
City-county 911 Director Paul Nave said an upgrade that will be in place before or shortly after the first of the year could cut several seconds off that time.
The new computer-aided dispatch system being installed at the 911 center contains a text to speech feature, that will use dispatch codes to automatically send emergency responders to a scene while the dispatcher is still taking a call. But to utilize the feature, the dispatch center needs additional equipment.
That equipment will be purchased with a $28,000 grant from the state 911 Services Board.
"My goal is, between December and January, with go live" with the text to speech system, Nave said last week.
The call will first be dispatched by an automated system that is triggered when a dispatcher enters the address of the call and the call code. For example, if an emergency call for a traumatic injury comes to 911, the dispatcher will enter the address of the call and the code for "traumatic injury" into the system. That will be enough information for the system to start moving emergency responders to a scene.
"If we can speed (the dispatch time) up be 20 to 30 seconds, that's huge," Nave said last week.
Dispatchers will collect additional information on the nature of the emergency and relay the details to emergency responders already on their way to a scene, Nave said.
Automated dispatch systems are becoming the norm for 911 agencies, he said.
"It's a new standard," Nave said.
There's a psychological benefit to the automated system beyond simply providing faster emergency service, Nave said.
"(People) think we are not dispatching" when the call taker is gathering information about an emergency, Nave said. With the new system, units can be put on the move while the dispatcher is still gathering needed details for responders.
"It alleviates that panic," Nave said.
The total cost of the upgrade is $32,000, with dispatch paying for what's not covered by the grant.
"Any time we can speed (dispatch) up, that our goal," Nave said. "In an emergency, our enemy is the clock."
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse