Board buys new recording system

By Julie Fann
star staff
At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Elizabethton 911 Board approved the lease purchase of a new recording system. The meeting was the first for EMA Director Walter Pierce since his return from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he had served as a member of the 776th Maintenance Company since January.
"The most important thing that I've noticed since I've been back is the recording system; we need a recording system desperately, and Burke Consulting talked to us here a couple months back," Pierce said.
The board decided to purchase the two recorders at $399 a month for five years. The purchase includes a one year maintenance warranty and 10 DVDs valued at $250. The new recorders will record the 911 calls and dispatches to DVDs, whereas the old system recorded them to VHS. Each DVD will hold 30 days worth of recordings.
The board also approved the use of a $50,000 federal grant to purchase a new visual mapping system which also includes $10,000 in state funds for maintenance.
"The system shows the location of a caller; right now, the current system gives an address and base location. The new system will have four computer screens that show dispatchers where the call originated, and you can download software if you have in-vehicle computers," said Board Chairman John Pierce. The new system works even if emergency equipment is down in the county and city.
The board also discussed building a layered mapping system with help from other local agencies, such as the Elizabethton Electric System, which would reveal underground water lines and gas lines coded in different colors.
"What I thought was really interesting was the cell phones. With a cell phone caller, (the system) will take you right to where they are; what you're seeing on the screen is aerial," said John Pierce.
John Pierce also told members about a new federal program titled COBRA designed to train emergency personnel for various terrorist activity. An acronym for Chemical, Organic, Biological, Radiation, Atmospheric threat reaction, the training is free of charge and lasts an entire week.
As many as eight New York City police officers have been receiving the training each week, John Pierce said. "They say your final exam is getting into a chemical suit and going out and dealing with one right then; they say if you live through that you pass," John Pierce said.
Next month, the regional director of emergency medical dispatch for the state, John Babb, will attend the 911 Board meeting to discuss any questions and advise members what other 911 centers are doing.