TOPIC: Why is the Emergency Dispatch having 10,000 calls go unanswered?
7/12/17 Meeting at the County-City Building 5:30 pm
Council Persons Present: Tim Scott, Jo Broden, Karen White, John Voorde
* Staffing Issues - There are currently 64 Dispatchers and 3 Administrators. After evaluating calls and overtime costs, it is being recommended 14 new people be added to the staff.
* There will always be some overtime because Distpatchers work 6 days and then have 3 off.
* Dispatchers are spread so thin that taking lunch and breaks is difficult.
*Safety is put at risk when a Dispatcher ends up covering 3 closed channels and 911 at the same time. Closed channels are those the public doesn't hear for police, fire and medical.
* To cover the volume of calls, they want the number of employees to go to 78. Staffing was at 81 before all the cuts were made.
* Staffing is not easy since less than 2% of the population has the skillset necessary to be a Dispatcher and training is often 6 to 9 months. They also want to add simulation training to make the Dispatchers better prepared for the job and do cross-training.
* According to the "Industry Staffing Calculator" 99 employees would be appropriate.
* Due to changes in the law, 4 Call Centers were forced to merge. When this happened it meant funding comes from both the South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County.
* Why doesn't 911 answer on the first ring? It first has to go through the MSAG - Master Street Address Guide for the first two rings. A Dispatcher first hears the call on the THIRD RING and is expected to answer within 10 seconds.
* There have been numerous technical difficulties in combining the four Call Centers. One of them is how they entered addresses. Some would enter it with one abbreviation and others a different one. These are now having to be made the same.
* Because of staffing shortages, Overtime is expected to be around $739,414.97. Current budgeted Overtime is set at $160,000.
* There will be a new radio tower buildout in the Notre Dame area.
* GIS has now gone to just one CAD system for addresses. There were originally 344,000 errors and it has been reduced to 6,000 errors. They are expecting to reduce this even further.
* Some errors are also due to multiple phone vendors. Each reports numbers and locations a bit differently.
* When a call is "abandoned", the Call Center does call them back to follow-up on the issue. Part of the measurement is how many call backs they have to make.
* To calculate acceptable call durations and delays, they use the Erlang-C Calculator at http://www.erlang.com/calculator/erlc/
* St. Joseph County, Population 268,411 (2015), 461 miles to cover, gets 507,120 calls with 229,471 calls for service.
For more clarification, please contact one of the Council Persons in attendance at the meeting. #MichianaObserver
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