West Virginia Pushes Toward Interoperability

West Virginia Pushes Toward Interoperability

News Jul 09, 2014

July 07--UNION -- West Virginia's inexorable move toward a completely interoperable emergency communications system is making headway in a region that includes Monroe County, according to 911 Director Tim Wilson.

With a new Web-based telephone system for the 911 Center right around the corner and new cell towers on Greenbrier Mountain and in Mercer County closing a long-standing radio gap, Wilson said recent conferences have allayed some of his reservations about the changes on the horizon.

"It's just changing the way we do things," he told the Monroe County Commission during a Wednesday morning meeting.

Wilson said both the radio tower network and the regional telephone system that will operate out of a server located in Beckley are a nod to the state's goals of establishing "more back-up, more redundancy" at every turn.

He predicted it will be around a year before completion of the Web-based phone system that will serve Raleigh, Greenbrier, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer and Monroe counties.

"Everybody's in pretty much the same boat (regarding the telephone system)," Wilson said, noting other servers similar in capacity to the one in Beckley are located in emergency centers around the state. Any server in the network can be pushed into service as back-up for any other server, in case of a power outage or equipment failure, he said.

In exceptionally exigent circumstances, 911 personnel from one county can even temporarily relocate to another county in the region and log into their home county's emergency system to receive calls and to dispatch responders, Wilson said.

The statewide radio communications system now nearing completion will allow emergency responders to have direct contact with regional command, Wilson said. As it stands now, Monroe responders usually have to resort to a telephone relay through the 911 Center, putting dispatchers in the position of repeating critical medical instructions from doctors to paramedics in the field, for example, Wilson said.

"If I can take our people out of that mix, it's worth every penny," he maintained.

Quite a few pennies are going into closing the gaps in the system in Monroe's region, and Wilson passed along a request to the county commissioners for $19,500 in support of the 480-foot-tall communications tower that was just erected in Mercer County. The money is to be used to run coaxial cable up the tower, Wilson said.

Continue Reading

Asked by Commissioner Clyde Gum Jr. if the project would not be completed without a financial contribution by Monroe County, Wilson said too much money has already been invested by various counties in the region for the project to stall now. But he predicted there would be repercussions for Monroe if the county does not contribute.

The commission took no immediate action on Wilson's request.

-- E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

Copyright 2014 - The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.

The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
Tina Alvey
Munroe Regional Medical Center has launched a $26 million construction project to expand the emergency department and reduce wait times.
Dispatchers reported 67% percent of 9-1-1 calls from the hospital were unnecessary, noting the most calls received in a day was 17.
Daemen College Rescue Squad will now be dispatched to 9-1-1 calls made on campus.
Firefighters and law enforcement personnel will battle it out in an American Red Cross blood drive to see who can gather more blood donors.
In response to having the highest number of fatal overdoses in the state, Montour County first responders and community members participated in a naloxone training session.
Patients can't know what's life-threatening, the organization maintains.
EMT Mousa Chaban, 31, died from his injuries after his colleague fell asleep at the wheel and collided with another vehicle after running a red light.
Louisiana's unclear telemedicine regulations are being reevaluated to ensure patients continue receiving high quality care.
Detective Randy Knight's business, A Safe Knight Inc., offers free classes to groups on how to respond to mass casualty incidents.
For the first time in its 100-year history, Fillmore Fire Department hired three paid, full-time firefighters not working in management positions.
EMS providers responded to a total of 1,100 overdose calls last year.
Amber Williams, 24, gave her 17-month-old son cocaine and put him into a cold bath after he consumed the opiates, requiring five doses of Narcan from firefighters to revive him.
Onslow County EMS reported the frequent use of Narcan last year cost the agency $19,000.
Tonya Johnson, 43, was hit and killed by a pickup truck when she exited her vehicle on a highway.
Hazleton firefighters gathered used equipment and a truck from local companies to donate to Santo Domingo's fire department.