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Posted on: August 31, 2017

Technology upgrades mean faster response times for Hall County’s public safety agencies

Several Hall County public safety agencies have implemented recent technology upgrades to improve the delivery of emergency services to citizens.

Earlier this summer, new Computer Automated Dispatch (or CAD) software was installed at the Hall County 911 Center along with the installation of mobile data terminals in the vehicles of first responders.

“The combination of these two upgrades allows first responders to see the information a 911 call taker is typing into his or her computer from their patrol car, fire engine or ambulance in real time” said Assistant Hall County Administrator Marty Nix.  “The upgrades also include an Automatic Vehicle Locator (or AVL) which pinpoints the first responder located closest to the emergency situation, cutting down response times and increasing the quality of our emergency response overall.”

The mobile data terminals also provide first responders with audible directions to the location of a call. 

“There are several agencies that are still in the process of installing their mobile data terminals, and once that is complete, all first responders will be able to participate in ‘mobile dispatch,’ which will allow them to change their status and enter notes pertinent to the call,” Nix said.  “In addition, law enforcement will now have the capability to run license and registration checks remotely.”   

He said the benefits of mobile dispatch include a reduction in radio traffic, clearing the way for the most serious calls to take precedence on a radio channel.

“These upgrades allow 911 personnel to be able to more heavily rely on technology to relay information between the 911 call taker and a first responder,” said Nix.

The recent 911 upgrades have been funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST.  

SPLOST has also funded the installation of additional lifesaving equipment on all of Hall County Fire Services’ vehicles, meaning emergency medical care can be delivered from multiple modes of transportation rather than awaiting on the arrival of an ambulance.

“Most of our time providing medical care is done in the field, not in the back of an ambulance, which is used primarily for transport purposes,” Hall County Fire Chief Jeff Hood said.  “By putting a paramedic on a fire engine or quick response vehicle that contains life-saving technology, we’re able to respond to an emergency medical situation immediately without having to wait until an ambulance returns from dropping off a patient at the hospital.”

All fire service vehicles now include cardiac monitors, 12-Lead EKGs, a Lucas Device, and the same pharmaceuticals that are available on ambulances.

Hood said the technology upgrades means that emergency medical professionals will be able to spend more time in the districts that they serve instead of leaving the district in order to transport a patient. 

“We are following a model used nationwide, including surrounding jurisdictions, which is in line with national standards and will maintain the County’s positive Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating, which is a factor in determining a property owner’s insurance costs,” he said. 

The new medical service delivery model has also been reviewed by Hall County Fire Services’ Medical Director Preston A. Ball, M.D.  

“This is a proven method to maintain a high level of care for our patients and is in no way a reduction in service,” said Ball.

Hall County’s public safety agencies also have several future upgrades planned in an effort to enhance their response to citizens.

“We are in the process of being able to capture analytics on our 911 calls,” said Kim Bond with Hall County 911.  “That will give us the ability to predict what area of the County our next call will come from, and we can rotate first responders to that area in order to provide an even faster response time.” 

She said the mobile data units already installed in first responders’ vehicles may someday make it possible for a citizen to transmit a photo or video straight from their phone to a computer screen inside a med unit, patrol car or fire engine.  Other upcoming public safety initiatives include the ability for the 911 Center to receive text messages once the statewide system is upgraded.

“We are pleased to provide the latest and greatest in cutting-edge technology to the citizens of Hall County,” Nix said.  “We’re excited about the future and for the role this technology will play in improving the safety of our public.”

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