Emergency Communications Center under reconstruction, fire department to respond more efficiently

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Tuesday, Fitch & Associates LLC presented a five-year study to Peoria City Council. Consultants compiled five years of data from 911 calls along with Fire and Advanced Medical Transport system information.

From their findings, they created recommendations to make the city’s emergency responses more efficient.

Fitch recommends that intake functions be conducted by Emergency Medical Dispatch certified personnel using Medical Priority Dispatch System protocols, including Pre-Arrival instructions. Also, consultants said the city should transition from the current paper card-system to the electronic software version of MPDS which would be integrated with the CAD systems.

Lastly, they recommend that radio talk-groups be consolidated onto a few radio consoles as possible, while still maintaining the FITCH performance target.

David Tuttle, Emergency Communication Center manager said he supports the agency’s findings.

We agree with the call taker approach, with the search teleocommunicator to assist during those times of busy times.

David Tuttle, Peoria Emergency Communication Center

Within research, consultants said they found more crews respond to calls than are needed, adding the right resources need to respond to the right calls.

The entire genesis of this was that we were sending too many resources to too many calls, some of which were of low severity that we did [not] need to have the fire department ruling up on and AMT following up a minute later. So this is an opportunity for us to try and optimize the system for everyone’s benefit inside the city of peoria.

Patrick Urich, Peoria City Manager

In order to reach the recommended goals, consultants said more dispatchers and emergency telecommunicators need to be hired into the Emergency Communication Center.

Currently, the center is seven positions below full staffing and it needs to increase by five positions. This means the center needs to hire a total of 12 people. Consultants said the center can increase call intake performance by an additional position filled 24 hours per day.

Recruitment efforts are underway to fill needed dispatch positions. Council members briefly discussed methods to interest potential employees, such as an increase in pay.

Urich said the discussed software has already been purchased and adds that the ECC is undergoing reconstruction. It will be on a new floor in the Municipal Services Building. Urich said the new center will be finished by the end of this year.

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