911 by the numbers

911 by the numbers

County’s emergency call center busy in 2015

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Crittenden County 911 Communications Center handled 118,924 calls in 2015 or about 13 calls per hour for each of the county’s two dispatchers.

Jeff Morris, 911 Director, recently gave the county quorum court an update about the center’s operations.

Morris said most of the calls to 911 now come from cell phones.

Of the 118,000 calls, 23,679 were from wireless callers. Only 1,624 were from landlines.

“Everybody has a cell phone now,” Morris said.

“There aren’t many land lines.”

As a result, 911 also gets a lot of hangups and “pocket dials.” The center had 5,343 of those in 2015.

Morris said the dispatch center gets its heaviest volume of calls around 4 p.m.

“At 4 o’clock you have people going to work and coming back from work, and going across the bridge plus the traffic on the Interstate at that time of the afternoon,” Morris said. “We have a lot of accidents that hour on the service road.”

Morris said the two dispatchers are capable of handling the call volume at this time, but there will come a time in the near future where the county will need to add a third dispatcher.

“We have a great staff over there,” Morris said. “In another year it has become apparent we will need a third person before too long.”

Mike Allen “That center stays pretty busy all the time,” added Sheriff Mike Allen. “Everybody calls 911 for everything

today.” On a related matter, Morris also told officials about Smart 911, an enhanced public safety dispatching system.

The nationwide service enables citizens to create a “safety profile” online that contains important specific information such as allergies and medications and other medical information, emergency contacts and more that can be helpful to first responders.

Users can also include other information such a floor plan of your home or apartment and children’s bedrooms, a list of family members, or anyone in the home with disabilities or special needs which can be helpful to firefighters.

“It’s 911 on steroids,” Morris said. “I have a profile myself. So in my case, if I call and they find me injured or passed out on the highway in my car they know I am overweight and am a diabetic.”

When a person calls 911 their profile pops up on the screen and the dispatcher can relay that information to first responders.

The service allows first responders to pinpoint the location of a landline call and can also locate a person on a cell phone to within about 300 yards.

About 70 percent of emergency calls now come from cell phones.

The service is voluntary and can be accessed at www.Smart911.com.

So far, there are 180 profiles in Crittenden County.

“It is a great tool and I would encourage every citizen to sign up and create a profile,” Morris said.

By Mark Randall

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