W. Va. county revamps dispatch protocols

Dispatchers will now wait three minutes instead of five after alerting a crew before paging the department again

By Kathy Plum
The Dominion Post

KINGWOOD, W.Va. — Preston Commissioners approved changes Monday in the call-out proto-cols used by Preston 911 for fire departments.

Emergency Management/911 Director Duane Hamilton and Assistant Director Justin Wolfe brought the proposed changes to Commissioners Craig Jennings, Dave Price and Don Smith for approval.

The county’s volunteer fire departments requested the change in call-out protocols for fire departments, Wolfe said.

Currently, after a fire department is called out, dispatchers wait 5 minutes and, if they don’t hear there is a crew, page the department again. Five minutes later, another department is called out, if the first can’t muster a crew.

Wolfe said fire departments want to change that to 3 minutes between the first page and the second, and if at least two people are not responding, they want the back up department called at the time of the second page, rather than waiting.

“So we went from a 10-minute maximum to where we’re down to about 3 minutes before somebody else is getting alerted,” Wolfe said.

“That’s kind of stemmed from a lot of the departments during the day not having any membership, and they don’t want to hold off,” Hamilton said.

A similar protocol is already in place for EMS.

Another change is that both EMS and fire departments will automatically be called out to calls of active cardiac arrests. Hamilton said it is a manpower issue, and the county fire association did not object.

The changes were approved unanimously by commissioners.

Copyright 2018 The Dominion Post

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