Local dispatch center upgrades system

In an emergency, seconds count. Lately, that can even mean calling for help if you or family member is overcome by heat.

One local dispatch center's upgrades are helping them respond to you faster than ever.

Four years ago, Calloway County's dispatch was officially established as a local call center. It fielded almost 3,500 calls in 2010. In 2015, it has fielded more than 6,000. That's why, dispatchers say, the upgrade to the call center was essential.

Dan Galloway, a dispatcher with the Calloway County Sheriff's Office, says he's seen the systems change since the beginning. He says in 1995 they had three telephone lines, a time clock, a scratch pad, and a spiral notepad. But all that's left of that first dispatch system is a single desk and some notepads.

"We can do in seconds what used to take us minutes," Galloway says.

Making the change for the computerized, Galloway says there's one important takeaway amidst the improvements. "The thing you can take away when you get to my stage in this job is your sanity," he says.

But now he says the upgrade to the dispatch center gives an efficient first line of defense for first responders. He says one of their main responsibilities is to keep the responders safe and help them get home to their families at the end of the day.

Capt. Eric Mitchuson with Calloway County Fire Rescue says fire rescue works hand in hand with dispatch. He says firefighters fully rely on them to get the full scenario and the full details to work through any emergency.

"The mental preparedness is a lot. You go to a water rescue, you have to be prepared," Mitchuson says.

Now the dispatch center has two fully-functional consoles, where before they only had one, and the upgrade did not cost any tax-payer money. The project was funded by a grant of $50,000. The center is also hiring one full-time position.

Eighty percent of the calls dispatch answers are from cell phones.

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