Special to the Gazette
Stratford's Finance and Labour Relations Committee on Tuesday agreed to look into a study of how much it would cost to unify the police and fire 911 emergency dispatch systems in Stratford.
During his presentation on the fire department’s 2014 capital projects, Fire Chief Rick Young said the department would need to install new computer equipment for the 911 dispatch system prior to Jan. 2015, as mandated by the CRTC.
“It needs a PC and other software to read the data once it comes through the fibre,” said Young. “Part of the next generation of 911 has a lot to do with cellphones and locators on cellphones through cell towers and knowing exactly where people are.”
Coun. George Brown was then inspired to ask the chief if he’d been communicating with the police about setting up a single “dispatching system that would save the citizens of this community several hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Brown then made a motion for city staff to look into a study about the creation of a single dispatching system for the city.
Coun. Paul Nickel seconded the motion, saying, “I’ve only been on council eight years and councilor Brown has brought it up each year for eight years so I think I will second it.”
Communities making similar studies into certain aspects about their fire departments have had to spend between $75-$90,000, said CAO Ron Shaw, who agreed to look further into how much a study of Stratford’s dispatching system would cost.
“It would be good in this study Mr. Shaw speaks of to go to these communities and look at what size of space you need, the level of the equipment, the amount of money on training, what was the organizational savings from the time you decided to do it, getting into it and actually upgrading,” Mayor Mathieson said. “Those are the things I think will be key to whether or not we go ahead.”
The motion to research conducting the study passed unanimously.