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Lake County 911 still going strong

January 15, 2014 by

Two computer stations allow them to keep track of unresolved calls and access all kinds of information needed for their work.

Grants over the years have allowed the center to acquire equipment that is still top of the line among 911 centers around Oregon according to Lakeview 911 Dir. Scott Utley.

Each computer station has access to both phone and radio communications, able to switch between the two and various radio repeaters to monitor radio traffic around the County.

For the sake of long-term comfort, necessary as the stations are manned 365 days a year, the station has upgraded their seats over time.  “We’ve bought about one chair per year,” said Utley.

Each chair has lumbar support, gel padding, swivels and had odor-cancelling materials contained inside.  One of the dispatchers, Cory Thornton, said it was particularly necessary to keep odors from building up in the seat, given how long it was occupied throughout the year.

Each computer table has sections that can be raised or lowered independently, allowing different operators to maintain an ergonomic seated position.

The computers allow them to identify locations from which calls originate, assign units from different agencies to an emergency situation and monitor active units constantly.

Their system, called a ‘Computer-Aided Dispatch’ or CAD system, also prompts them to check in on officers at specific times and tells them whether or not an officer is on duty or unavailable.

Every call that comes in is logged and recorded for future playback.

Unresolved calls are flagged for resolution and the computer system lets dispatchers check records associated with different individuals.

Utley noted that the office also has a HAM radio, a system that is also used by the Lakeview Search & Rescue as well as the Lake District Hospital in the event of emergencies.

“It’s linked to hospitals all over Oregon.  The hospital can send things via radio waves like xrays and vitals from patients,” said Utley.

In the event of power failure, the dispatch center’s systems have backup batteries that provide an uninterrupted flow of power while a generator inside the Emergency Services building kicks in.

They also have a microwave transmission system that relays signals to equipment on Black Cap Mountain.

Utley explained that their system, which allows dispatchers to keep track of fire, police and other agencies at the same time wouldn’t work in a larger area.

Most large dispatch centers have dispatchers that are responsible only for dispatching a single agency, only monitoring phone calls or only monitoring the radio. The Town employs seven full time dispatchers with one currently in training. Two dispatchers are on duty  at all times.

For more information, contact the Lake Emergency Telecommunications 9-1-1 Center by calling 541-947-2504.

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