New system will help dispatchers better respond to emergency calls

Published 10:38 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

We don’t appreciate government services, like police, fire and emergency responders, until we need them. Then, we’re so grateful for them.

Vicksburg and Warren County took a huge step this week toward streamlining response to 9-1-1 calls by adding equipment in the form of computer software that will allow emergency dispatchers to better direct emergency calls, saving precious response time and perhaps lives.

Dispatchers will first ask callers if they need police, fire or medical help. Depending on the answer to that question, the new program displays a series of information or questions the dispatcher needs to ask to give proper help to 911 callers.

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Before this new system, dispatchers had to move attention from between their computer screens to a manual, which directed the questions they asked depending on the type of emergency. Now, all of the information the dispatchers need to respond to the caller will be displayed on their computer monitor.

The system will also help dispatchers through things like giving CPR instructions to the caller in order to help a victim before medical personnel arrive. In fact, the instructions can even walk a caller through delivering a baby, if that’s needed, as it has been in the past.

If you are in the unfortunate situation of having to make a 911 call, please remember it’s important to stay as calm as possible, and to answer the dispatcher’s question as calmly and completely as possible. While you may not understand why a dispatcher needs answers to particular questions they ask you, please simply answer them. They know what they are doing. Cooperating with them as quickly as possible, communicating calmly and clearly is our responsibility. That’s how best we can help in an emergency situation.

We’re thankful for the men and women who have taken on the task of providing emergency services. Let’s do our part in being as calm and cooperative as possible during an otherwise tense situation for all.