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Consolidated Dispatch Center in concept phase for N.P. County officials

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When you call 911 you expect help right away because in those moments every second counts, and when you’re waiting, it can seem like forever. But one expert said there are ways to speed up the process to get you help you need faster.

Imagine an urgent situation like a stabbing. You call 911 and the clock starts ticking. You’re connected with the sheriff’s office dispatch. They take down your information, but wait, you also need medical attention and you’re sent over to someone else. They then take down all the information and dispatch an ambulance.

"That whole process took 13 minutes before the fire department was dispatched,” said Jim Lake.

This was the example Jim Lake illustrated for officials and the city of Lewiston and Nez Perce County. He’s the Director of the Consolidated Dispatch Center in Charleston County, North Carolina.

That specific example he gave, was why his county decided to consolidate their dispatch centers. In general, a consolidated dispatch center would mean when you call 911, there is one big hub. All the calls are received in one place and dispatchers all work together, in multiple jurisdictions. He said, it works.

"Because of their process we immediately cut 2 minutes off of their response times,” said Lake.

His presentation went over many aspects of what consolidating would mean, including training employees, informing the public, and building a multifaceted center for dispatch. The response from local officials was positive.

Jim Kleeburg, Lewiston Mayor said, "It's certainly worth pursuing and worth conversation."

Bryant Wolfe, Director of Emergency Management said, “I'm in 100% support of this because it goes right along the lines of the national preparedness goals and enhancing the capabilities, so I think it's phenomenal."

This is still just in the concept phase for now. A lot of logistics need to be discussed between the city and county, and one of the biggest is funding.

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