Problems compunding at Central County Dispatch

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KeyWest35

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As I alluded to a few weeks ago about the problems with Central County Dispatch things just seem to be getting worse. In the news last week firefighters were sent to a similar address in Ferguson for a kitchen fire but the fire was actually in Florissant over 5 miles away. By the time firefighters got to the right address the fire was coming out of the roof. I doubt if No Central would have messed up that one. Then I was told recently that a EMS call was dispatched on Bowles Ave in the So County area and when their units arrived they were told it was in a district some miles away and the street was spelled with a V instead of a B. I hardly believe that's a computer error but more likely human. These are only 2 horror stories that I have heard about and could warrant a law suit against Central County. I was told by a good friend in the North County area that many Fire Chiefs are becoming increasingly unhappy with Central County and looking at other possibilities for dispatch which in my opinion could and should be the St Louis County Police which would be cheaper, faster and more efficient for the citizens of St Louis County.
 

emtp48

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Too bad the dispatchers can't learn how to correctly pronounce the street names. I also hear inconsistencies in dispatching--an ambulance is sent on a call and minutes later the local pumper is then dispatched to the same call. North Central would have always sent both units. Then, Central County mixes up if/when they repeat the address in the dispatch on only give it out once.
By the way--what is the whoop noise when they are transmitting? Sounds like the beginning of a siren's upward wail.
 

Firedispemt

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I'd just like to throw another view into the mix of this current situation you all speak about. I am in NO way affiliated with ANY of the agencies involved but I do have 15+ years of experience in Fire/EMS and 8 years as a part time dispatcher. I feel that I have had my fair share of time on BOTH sides of the radio. That being said, I would be interested to know how many of the Firefighters and Paramedics that are dispatched by Central County have taken the time to go sit in and observed what they go through on a daily basis. You aren't in there with them so you have no idea. I had the "image" of a dispatcher lounging back in comfy chair with their feet propped up on the desk....NOT the case people! SIT IN WITH YOUR DISPATCHERS! Please sit in with them before you talk poorly of them. They are more than happy to have their Firefighters and Paramedics come sit with them and you might actually understand why they do what they do and learn something! As for the comments about pronunciation....if you didn't grow up in the area you work; did you really know how to pronounce every street in your district prior to working in that area? I can almost guarantee there is no CAD system out there that has a pronunciation guide for streets. Cut these men and women a break. From the way it sounds this agency is just going through some major growing pains after a MAJOR.....MAJOR expansion. While everyone is entitled to their opinions (and I respect that) people should really know the facts before they open their mouths. In reference to the Florissant incident...people make mistakes. Thankfully it was property and NOT a life lost. I realize that doesn't make it any easier for the family but accidents happens even in emergency services....move on.

Again, back to my main thought here, if you are dispatched by this 911 Center please take some time to go there and learn about why they do what they do. You would be really surprised what goes on in a busy 911 center.
 

KeyWest35

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I keep listening to Police and Fire dispatch from various agencies and Central County keeps up their terrible dispatches. Their CAD system is definitely messed up. One of the problems is when they merged they took the long time dispatchers from that agency and have them dispatching strange areas now. The dispatchers from the old centers knew their area and didn't make the mistakes that are happening now. I don't blame them at all. Central Co dispatched equipment just a short time ago for a vehicle rescue and sent one truck that wasn't too far away and one truck miles away when a truck and ambulance were sitting in service at a fire station just a couple a blocks away. A Chief realized the Central Co mistake and had them dispatched.Thank God it was not a life or death situation but could very well have been .St. Louis County PD is sounding better and better as a replacement for Central County.
 

shelleys1

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KeyWest35 - just as an FYI, if you haven't seen it already, CCE911 has already lost (if I remember correctly) 4 of the agencies it dispatched. I don't remember all of them right now but I know Monarch was one and there were three others. I wouldn't be surprised if more followed suit.
Shell
 

scanman1958

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If Monarch has left CC911 then who is dispatching them? Or, have they announced their intention to leave CC911 ASAP? I have heard from many fire districts/departments that there are a host of problems. Probably something more than growing pains. I hope some kind of decision is made soon.
 

KeyWest35

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I heard that certain departments just pulled out of their controlling interest not the dispatch portion and that departments that went with Central county signed a long time contract with them. Too bad if that is true and they can't break their contract as I have heard more horror stories and thankfully no lives have been lost to date that i am aware of. I feel sorry for the dispatchers working in this stressful environment. They just got too big too fast and management apparently can't bring things under control in a quick and efficient manner.
 

shelleys1

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Departments supposedly leaving CCE911

What I read was in the Post Dispatch. If I remember correctly there are four departments (or, I suppose one could call them clients) which have requested to leave the CCE911 operations. I'm definitely not sure if they have completely severed their involvement with CCE911 but I do know that the article stated something like Central County experiencing more problems... and then in followed with 4 departments/operations which were moving to separate themselves from them.

There are, almost always, mitigating circumstances which would allow the separation, even with the long-term commitment in effect. I won't go into details but I do know that almost always, if there are commitments which a company cannot uphold, the contract can be broken. (fwiw).

I'll see if I can find the article in the Post's archives. If so, I'll post it here.

Shelley
 
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shelleys1

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scanman1958 - If Monarch does, in fact, separate themselves from CCE911 I think they would most likely move to West Central Dispatch (Frontenac). The only thing I'm pretty sure about is that, as of right now, they probably couldn't go to St. Louis County for dispatching fire and EMS.
My husband and I are moving to Austin *very* soon! But I have a couple of people I can talk to, before I leave, who may be able to tell me more about what is going on and who will dispatch if/(when??) they split from CCE911.

Shell
 

shelleys1

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Firedispemt...I spent over 3 years at Central County 911. I was involved with a program between St. Louis County PD and Central County. It was a coordination between the two for severe weather, etc. I know exactly how intense the work is!! I was in the middle of it myself (but as a St. Louis County PD representative)...I worked amateur radio from Central County and advised headquarters, in Clayton, when necessary. I clearly know how difficult it can be and is to do the work they do! My concern, much like some others who have posted, is that it has gotten too big too fast. You, I'm VERY sure, fully understand how the calls, dispatches, etc. must be handled. There are still several of their "veteran" staff onboard but there are quite a few new ones...some of whom I believe could benefit from more training. I'm NOT judging - !'m speaking from my experience there. These days I continue to have my radio here, next to my computer, and I can hear the dispatches when they come out. I will repeat - I am not judging them, but I do have some concerns.
Shell
 

scanman1958

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Shelly.....I thought you were already in Austin. Guess you had to endure one more terrible winter here.

It does sound like the people at CC911 are overworked. Just an educated guess. Just from what you can hear on the radio. I have a couple connections with some FD's in the county and I got a good "initial" look at the radio zones and the TG's etc. Wow. What a lot of TG's! The building seems to be taking forever to finish. Hope it all gets done before the end of the year. I have also seen a photo of one of the new towers for the radio system. If there is going to be five of them the size seems to be pretty nice.

Getting back to CC. I wish they would stop double dispatching calls. Especially EMS (oh no. I mean still alarms) They will disp the ambulance then a couple minutes later send an engine company. I can understand the logic in getting the ambulance out quick but they seem to be making their work twice as hard by dispatching on the same call twice. Again, just an educated guess. Sometimes not too much education.

Hope they smooth things out. But a hunch tells me one of the old centers may open back up to take back their areas.
 

shelleys1

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Austin, CCE911 and more. *smile*

scanman1958

Well, we'd planned to leave earlier but both my husband and I clearly didn't realize just how much STUFF we have! HAHAAA We drove down to Austin about a month ago, looked at some homes and, the second day we were there, we bought one! Both Don (my husband) and I cannot wait to get back to the warmer weather!!

As to CCE911 - I'm not sure how they're going to straighten some of these things out - but they'd better figure it out quickly. I hope it settles down over there and things run much more smoothly. As I mentioned in one other posting here, they still have a number of their seasoned people and I think they'll eventually get things straightened out. Also - since years ago, when I was over there, they always dispatched EMS before the pumpers...unless I'm grossly mistaken, that is something which hasn't really changed.

The moving company representative came by this past Friday to go through this home, document all the furniture, etc. etc. and that took over two hours. Whew! The packers will be here on Friday morning and the moving van will be here next Monday (1 week from today).

It's a LONG drive from here to Austin...at least 12 hours. *sigh* I am NOT looking forward to the drive down there but I AM looking forward to better weather than here!

BUT (another *sigh*) I'm going to miss everyone... As much as we're looking forward to moving I'm getting sad about it. Our oldest son lives in Charlotte, NC and our younger one is going to stay here, in this house. I have to admit I'm having a hard time with the move...being so far away from our sons is not easy for me. But they both know they can come down any time they want (but we might throw them out after a week or so! LOL).

OK, enough of my rambling! I still have things which have to get organized before the packers get here on Friday (what a royal pain!) Without question I will always drop back in here and say HI to everyone!

Oh - one last thing...you mentioned how long it was taking the new EOC to be finished. That will most likely start up in the spring. The budget for that building was substantial and they put off the purchase of the furniture, etc. until this upcoming spring. Once all that is in and they have the front and rear gates setup and manned, they'll be ready to go!

Take care and be safe!

Shelley :)
 
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KeyWest35

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Take care Shelleys 1 and best of luck in your new town and state. Speaking about the new EOC I drove past there the other day and it is a ugly building . It looked better when it was all concrete and before an exterior was put on. I had a friend that was in the know take me by there before the new tower was built behind it. Back then St Louis County was in discussion with some Fire Department officials to have St Louis County PD dispatch fire and EMS. It fell through for various reasons but mainly time constraints with the other dispatch agencies closing before the center would be up and running as I remember. At any rate it is still my opinion that St Louis County Police do a great job of dispatching calls and many times its so long before a fire or ambulance is dispatched I think I missed the dispatch.
 

emtp48

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Central County

Scanman1958
I agree with you. In the past two weeks I have heard more EMS call dispatched and a couple of minutes later the dispatcher says, "I have just reconfigured the call and he cancels out one pumper and sends another pumper who just happens to be "closer" that the first one sent. I have also heard a lot of CNEH ambulances being dispatched, canceled and a closer unit sent. From the public it sounds as if their CAD system can't properly locate/track units.
Firedispemt
Like you I respect your opinions and the ability to voice them. I agree with you in that all personnel should have the opportunity to sit in with their comrades to get a better idea. What I was referring to was the fact that in February 2014 some street names that they have been using since October 2013 would have been offered correction by the responding departments. For example, the Pine Lawn Police Department is on Steve Marre Avenue. The proper pronunciation is "Marie"--not "mar". Maybe I should have said shame to the Northeast Fire Protection District for not trying to correct the dispatch center. And, as you, I have over 28 years in law enforcement, dispatch and EMS combined. One never knows when a mis-pronounced street
could lead to a wrong address, as mentioned in a previous post to this thread.
 

shelleys1

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Hi KeyWest35!
The style, etc. of the new EOC is not so much under the auspices of St. Louis County PD. The Communications Commission, from what I remember, is the "primary" on the building. It is likely to be somewhat a "joint venture" on both their parts but if I'm correct (and I believe I am on this) a good portion of the building was financed by the Communications Commission. I'm not sure how much either entity (County or the Commission) had the most "say so" in what the building would end up looking like, etc. Personally, I tend to think that County was not the decision-maker when it came to what the exterior of the building would look like. *sigh*
Also, there was a good reason why County PD would not be dispatching Fire and EMS operations...County employees are non-union. Fire and EMS dispatch agencies *are* union. Since this is the case they cannot have dispatchers from Fire and EMS dispatching from the new EOC. Perhaps they can find some way to work that out but, as last I heard it wasn't going to happen.

Shelley

P.S. Thanks for the kind words - we are REALLY going to miss St. Louis!! The movers will be here on Friday to pack everything and the moving van will be here on Monday. I'm still excited about the move but am sad to be leaving. *sigh*
 

redhelmet13

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P.S. Thanks for the kind words - we are REALLY going to miss St. Louis!! The movers will be here on Friday to pack everything and the moving van will be here on Monday. I'm still excited about the move but am sad to be leaving. *sigh*

If you will be listening to Austin FD, they dispatch via Locution. Same here in Fort Worth and Dallas...
 

shelleys1

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Well, what ticks me off is that they encrypt most everything (except for fire, I believe). I'm sick and tired of departments using encryption! Here in St. Louis, a large city and county area with approx. 3 million people, there is little encryption, if any. I've worked closely with County PD on many things and what encryption means is that good people cannot monitor - I find that unacceptable...what are they trying to hide? That's the crux of it, IMHO. *sigh*

I will be interested in hearing the locution dispatching for EMS and Fire - I haven't monitored it before!
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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I keep listening to Police and Fire dispatch from various agencies and Central County keeps up their terrible dispatches. Their CAD system is definitely messed up. One of the problems is when they merged they took the long time dispatchers from that agency and have them dispatching strange areas now. The dispatchers from the old centers knew their area and didn't make the mistakes that are happening now. I don't blame them at all. Central Co dispatched equipment just a short time ago for a vehicle rescue and sent one truck that wasn't too far away and one truck miles away when a truck and ambulance were sitting in service at a fire station just a couple a blocks away. A Chief realized the Central Co mistake and had them dispatched.Thank God it was not a life or death situation but could very well have been .St. Louis County PD is sounding better and better as a replacement for Central County.
This is the big issue in the area. I went to school out at WUSTL and having worked in the STL system and a few other systems, there were a lot of limitations back a few years ago with having 70-some dispatch agencies. But when they consolidate, they need to keep dispatchers in the areas they are familiar with. Around here, they just consolidated 3 dispatching centers, but all of the personnel are still dispatching for the same departments they have been for years. The only difference is now they sit in the same room and don't have to call around for mutual aid.


Well, what ticks me off is that they encrypt most everything (except for fire, I believe). I'm sick and tired of departments using encryption! Here in St. Louis, a large city and county area with approx. 3 million people, there is little encryption, if any. I've worked closely with County PD on many things and what encryption means is that good people cannot monitor - I find that unacceptable...what are they trying to hide? That's the crux of it, IMHO. *sigh*

I will be interested in hearing the locution dispatching for EMS and Fire - I haven't monitored it before!
Locution is an interesting beast. One of my current departments has 2 dispatchers since we are on a municipal border. Locution dispatches over our main dispatch frequency, and the other county still uses human dispatching. (We monitor the other county to speed up response times, we don't technically have to, but about 30-40% of our runs come out of there).

I like locution since the pronunciation is always the same. And if it's off of what we were used to, it off every time so you get retrained to it. It's also a lot more efficient. If you are in house, there is no dispatching delay where runs are stacked and waiting to be put out over the air. Since it's IP based, it just sends a data burst to the station house and your box plays the tones and dispatch. There have been times that we get on a scene and we're just then hearing the dispatch go over the air. It's also nice because it can target stations a lot easier than a human can. For example, for responses involving a large number of companies, a "batallion drop" was done where everyone in the area would get the dispatch, even if it was 2 in the morning and none of the units at their station was on the card. Locution has completely solved this problem.

But the thing you have to realize is that it's not a dispatcher REPLACEMENT. With the human dispatchers, we can get a lot more information. With Locution, we get exactly this everytime:

"Tones, Radio Channel the response is on, Equipment dispatched, Street address, business name (if applicable), Nature of the run" some of that information is repeated again, then we get the radio channel again and the time of dispatch.

It's very rigid as to what we get. The Nature of the run is one of about 60 or 70 pre-programmed messages. With the other dispatchers, for medical runs, we'll get age of the patient, and often a lot of other information. For fire runs, we get additional information about the nature, exact location, if it's a car accident .we might get the color of the car, if it's off the road in the ditch, etc. Yes, the dispatcher can override Locution and get out a manual dispatch but I can only remember of hearing that happen once.

As with everything, there are pros and cons, so it'll just be what the guys in the area like more.
 

KeyWest35

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As I have stated on previous posts St Louis County officials have been in discussion with some top fire officials about the possibility of St Louis County PD dispatching for them from their new dispatch center which will be in the new EOC building in early summer. It was dismissed by some on here as not happening for various reasons but I can assure you that it is still a very good possibility. Read in todays Post Dispatch about one of Monarch's board of directors attending a meeting with Central County and what Charlie Dooley says
Just the other day Affton FPD was on a house fire and had Shrewsbury covering their station when another fire broke out and Central County dispatched trucks. They then called East Central Dispatch and asked to have Shrewsbury respond on this fire to which East Central said they are sitting in your Affton station 1. Central County who had Shrewsbury move into their station didn't even know they were there and they would be the closest to respond. DUH. This is just another example of the poor dispatches being made with the possibility of life and death involved.
Hopefully many fire departments will go to St Louis County PD where dispatches will be done in a more efficient, accurate and cost effective manner.
 
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