It might not seem like a 911 call in Euclid being answered nearly 15 miles away in Bedford would improve safety. But communities throughout Northeast Ohio are consolidating their fire, emergency medical and police dispatch services, which saves suburbs money by not staffing their own centers. Consolidation also allows regional centers to invest in technologies, such as computer-aided dispatch systems, that the individual cities might not be able to afford. We highlight two of the dispatch centers already up and running.
Chagrin Valley Emergency Dispatch Center
Location: University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center Communities served: South Russell, Chagrin Falls, Chagrin Falls Township, Bentleyville, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange Village, Woodmere, Gates Mills, North Randall, Highland Hills and Euclid Population: 80,370 No. of dispatchers on staff: 18 full time, 15 part time Money saved: Euclid, for example, will save nearly $300,000 a year. Technological feature: It has a live link with Ohio Department of Transportation highway cameras, letting dispatchers see an accident or emergency before a 911 call even comes in. "We are able to watch in real time everything that is going on, on those highways," says center program director and Orange Village police officer Nick DiCicco.
Southwest Emergency Dispatch Center
Location: Strongsville's Communication and Technology Center Communities served: Strongsville, North Royalton, Olmsted Falls and Berea Population: 102,700 No. of dispatchers on staff: 24 full time Money saved: North Royalton, for instance, saves about $156,000 a year. Technological feature: With so much information to track, including locations of emergency vehicles and addresses of 911 calls, the dispatchers need a lot of computer screen space. Each dispatch station has a 48-inch monitor, bigger than some home TVs. "It makes it easier on eyestrain and neck strain over a 12-hour shift," says John Bedford, who handles operations for the dispatch center and is director of the city's Communication and Technology Center.