Boone County set to upgrade emergency dispatch system

LEBANON, Ind. – Boone County public safety officials are set to install new computer software that should speed up the process of mobilizing first responders to emergency situations.

Boone County Emergency Communications will install Locution Systems, Inc. software designed to automatically send emergency alerts to the different fire and EMS responders needed at a variety of emergency situations.

Lebanon Fire Chief Chuck Batts says each fire station in Boone County requires a specific emergency tone to activate that station’s emergency radio system. Currently, Boone County dispatchers manually send those tones and alerts when mobilizing different fire stations to an emergency. The new Locution software will automatically send those alerts so the dispatcher doesn’t have to send each one and read off each station and apparatus needed at a call.

“This will affect the amount of time it takes the dispatcher to receive the call and then dispatch the call,” Batts said. “Seconds to matter in an emergency. Our goal is to shave a minute off of this time.”

Whitestown Fire Deputy Chief of Operations Clinton Crafton says having the computer software automatically send the alerts will also allow dispatcher to concentrate more time and effort on gathering information from 911 callers. He says the system will be especially helpful during large emergencies or widespread weather events.

“We’ve got dispatchers doing the best they can to get those calls answered,” Crafton said. “And this is just one more step to free them up and allow them to take multiple calls at the same time and get multiple departments moving at the same time as well.”

Crafton said the new system could mean the difference between life and death in situations where seconds count.

“When we consider that a cardiac arrest patient has literally minutes between that window of being savable and being deceased, fifteen, twenty, thirty seconds, they all matter,” he said.

The new system will only apply to Fire and EMS services. Law enforcement agencies do not utilize the same tone-based alert system.

The cost of the $174,555 upgrade is being split up between several Boone County communities and agencies.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen applauds the efforts for the new upgrade. He hopes to see the software installed and running by the end of the year, possibly as early as September.