you're reading...

Cornelius News

Fire Dept. has plan to address dispatch delay

Cornelius Lemley Fire Station No. 2

Feb. 8. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Fire Dept. will propose a plan to address delays in the 911 processing time sometimes being experienced when fire and rescue calls are being dispatched. The details of the system, known as “station alerting,” will be spelled out at the Town Board’s special budget meeting tomorrow in the Cain Center for the Arts, according to Chief Guerry Barbee.

The current system

Currently, all 911 calls from Cornelius are routed into the dispatch center in Cornelius Police Headquarters on Catawba Avenue. The operator asks whether the caller needs police, fire or medic. If they state fire or medic, the call is rerouted to the Mecklenburg County Dispatch Center where another operator takes the information and sends out the alarm. This is where the delay can occur according to Barbee.

“If there are multiple calls going on in the county, our call in Cornelius might be delayed. Everything is done by hand,” the chief said.

How long is the potential delay? Guerry says comparing the initial incoming call at Cornelius 911 to the alarm transmission, the delay can run as much as 90 seconds or more. Seasoned fire and medical personnel state that in their business, seconds count.

The proposal

Details were sketchy Monday evening, but essentially, once a county dispatcher inputs a call into their computer, the department would be alerted, rather than waiting for a voice dispatch. This could definitely shave seconds, maybe minutes, off the response time.

What’s behind the proposal?

Fire Department records correlated for the 2024 budget proposal indicate that, while the town was nearing and/or achieving their goal for number of members responding, the response time itself was running somewhat slower than the ideal. Some of the delay can be attributed to unavoidable geographic issues, such as streets on the far end of Jetton, but the dispatch delay is viewed as a solvable element.

Would this impact the Police 911 system?

No changes are anticipated. With local police dispatchers and a growing network of closed circuit Telemetry throughout the town, dispatching of police calls is virtually instantaneous.

Where and When is the budget meeting?

The special budget meeting will be held from 9:30 am to 5 pm at the Cain Center for the Arts. It will be live streamed on the town web site: www.Cornelius.org.