Ohio Localities Unveil New Dispatch Center Plans

Technology at the Norton, Copley Township and Barberton center will provide dispatchers with instructions tailored to each emergency call.

by News Staff / December 17, 2013
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In northeastern Ohio, Norton, Copley Township and Barberton will soon unveil their brand new joint dispatch center — complete with touch-screen computers and digital radios — which is slated for operation by Jan. 4, 2014.

Cost for the new facility, which was capped at $1.77 million, was split among the three communities based on population, tax evaluation and emergency call volume for 2012, Copley Fire chief Mike Benson told Ohio.com. Funding was unanimously approved Dec. 12 by officials from the Southwest Summit Council of Governments, who represented all three areas.

When functional, the center — based at the Norton fire station on Greenwich road — will employ 19 full-time dispatchers, two part-time dispatchers, a manager and a communications supervisor, veteran Karen Gregorcic.

Instead of allowing a single dispatcher to manage emergency calls alone, the center will employ a team of dispatchers for each shift to more quickly and efficiently manage response time. One dispatcher can answer the phone and remain on the line with the caller while the other dispatchers “…are sending fire and EMS units at the exact same time,” Benson told Ohio.com. “It cuts down response time, provides better service and literally saves lives.”

In addition to the team of dispatchers, there will also be multiple Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) units at each work center, and the five high definition, big-screen TVs mounted on the center’s wall can display pertinent information in a panoramic fashion. 

“When we see something on our CAD, we can tell if the community data is correct. We can tell if it’s the city of Barberton,” Gregorcic said, “and we can dispatch help to you directly without phone calls, without any delay in response, without any hesitation to get help there.”

The system’s technology will be advanced enough to provide dispatchers with individual instructions tailored to the emergency call — wind direction for a call area, for example, or how to properly put pressure on a victim’s wound. 

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