Wednesday, October 5, 2011

911 dispatch centers revisited

At last it would seem nice weather has returned to Maine.  It will be a wee bit cool into Friday, but then the temperatures once again will rise to nice, fall-like levels.  And the sun we'll see this Wednesday will remain with us for the several days.  There could be a shower or two along the way, but the sun will dominate.

On the negative side, we're in for a couple cool nights.  In fact freeze or frost warnings have been posted for most all of the state except right along the coast, at least forWednesday night and Thursday night's temperatures could be even colder.

Back when the state proposed, ordered, a reduction in emergency call centers to handle 911 calls, I objected because in many areas those centers have put an added layer to the 911 emergency situation.  In some instances where communities have maintained their own dispatchers, the call centers transfer to the local for dispatching.  Where local dispatching has been eliminated, the centers dispatch emergency help.

We have read/heard in the news of numerous incorrect addresses having been dispatched emergency help while the need had to wait.  Consequences have not always been good.

But the consolidation was designed to save money.  Now we're told we need to consolidate again to just two statewide emergency centers.  It seems as a result of the last consolidation the state will need an additional six hundred thousand dollars, but consolidation would solve that problem.  The state's commissioner for such things says suggestions to make counties or cities the dispatch centers would be OK with him.  But isn't that where it was before the state took them over?

We're paying for these 911 centers with the more than $8 million a year we pay on our phone bills each month.  As I said when all this consolidation business began, I'd rather have my 911 calls answered locally where local dispatchers instantly dispatch the proper equipment to a proper address.  Thankfully, I live in a community that kept its local dispatchers.

I'm selfish in wanting the local people.  When I had a time sensitive burst aneurysm several years ago, going through layers probably would have added enough time for me not to be able to write this today.

Of course most if not all cell phone 911 calls are answered by a 911 call center, but you already know how much I use a cell phone.  Still, with today's technology, cell towers should be able to be programmed to direct a call to a local dispatch center.  Perhaps some of all the savings we were promised should go to development of such direction.

On the national political scene, the republican field for the presidential nomination next summer appears to now be set.  Once the caucuses and primaries begin next January . . . there's some talk of beginning them around Christmas time this year . . . the field will get narrowed down quickly.  One prominent governor took his name out of the race Tuesday as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would not run.  I think on Sarah Palin still has yet to be heard, but I doubt she'll do anything but continue to tease her supporters.

Edited Wed. eve:  Sarah Palin announced today she will not be a candidate for the presidency this election cycle.

I'm still a very long way from deciding which candidate, if any, will get my support.  I'm not terribly impressed with any of them still running.


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