Consolidating calls will help cut down on emergency response times

Seconds count in an emergency, so finding a way to cut down on response times was a priority for one local community.

They say they have done it by re-routing where your calls end up.

The issue in the Anna-Jonesboro area was that some people were still calling the landline at the fire station instead of 911 during emergencies.

Now, it will not matter if anyone does that because all calls are directed to one centralized dispatch center at the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

This consolidations is a better use of fire fighter’s time and your tax dollars.

Firefighters typically do not get into the business to sit behind a desk.

Most of them want to suit up, head out, and help you.

But at the Anna Fire Department there has been a lot of desk time, up until just a few days ago.

“This is where we were spending 99% of our time, answering the phones,” said Chief Gary Rider pointing to the office desk.

Rider says after more than 20 years, he could not begin to count how many times he has been stuck answering the phone.

Sheriff Scott Harvel says the radio transmitting system is more efficient and will cut down on response times.

“We are immediately transmitting that information to either the fire, medical or police,” said Harvel.

Chief Rider says he and his team can make better use of their time now that they are not tied to a desk.

“We can educate the citizens on fire prevention, it frees us up to do more training,” said Rider.

Anna City Administrator Steve Guined says merging the dispatch centers is a step into the 21st Century for his small community; one that will make it a safer place to live.

“We think this is going to provide our citizens with more protection, better protection, a better trained workforce,” said Guined.

“We don’t need to be sitting in here, we need to be out in the public,” said Rider.

When he and his team are not stuck behind a desk, they can better serve you.

The Union County Sheriff told Local 6 that the cost to switch to the central dispatch center was minimal.

The hope is that with everyone working more efficiently, the departments will actually save money.

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