Friday, January 15, 2016

911 VERSUS 353-2500

Friday, January 15, 2016

Years ago the leadership of the town approved Chief Brooks to establish and operate the Lisbon Communication Center. The purpose behind this move was to mirror the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) (receive emergency service phone calls and dispatching First Responders). This was all done because Lisbon did not play well with others.
In order to begin, there had to be a number for Lisbon residents to call for emergency service instead of 911. The phone number 353-2500 has been established to serve this purpose. 911 calls go directly to the PSAP in Androscoggin County Dispatch and all 353-2500 calls go directly to the Lisbon Communication Center. The Lisbon Communication Center is duplicating the effort of the PSAP. The state of Maine has limited the number of PSAP and supports only approved PSAPs, so the Lisbon taxpayers had to support the Lisbon Communication Center. Last year this cost was approximately $350,000.00 of tax dollars.

Both of these units perform the same service to the community but in a slightly different way. Lisbon Communication Center receives call for emergency service and immediately dispatches First Responders. This eliminates any delay time from the time the call is received until the First Responders are dispatch to the scene. This is without doubt the most efficient system.

However, the PSAP is forced to take a different path. The Town of Lisbon has required the PSAP to transfer the information from the caller to the Lisbon Communication Center before any First Responders can be dispatched to the scene. This is only for Lisbon. Normal PSAP procedures are the person receiving the emergency services call immediately dispatches the local First Responders.

Both systems when operating in a normal mode works identically the same with the same response time between caller and dispatching First Responders to the scene. However, the Town of Lisbon has deliberately altered the process to justify the existence of the Lisbon Communication Center. This duplication of work effort cost the taxpayers a great deal of tax dollars and a portion of this cost could be returned to the taxpayers if the PSAP was allowed to operate in the manner designed by the state. The 353-2500 is the primary system and 911 is a secondary system.

My point is; we can save approximately $350,000.00 tax dollars by eliminating the Lisbon Communication Center because if the town allowed the PSAP to dispatch First Responders; the PSAP would be the most efficient system and save the people a lot of tax dollars.

I discussed this with Chairman Bickford who told me that the Town Council is going to put a binding Referendum Question whether or not to keep the Lisbon Communication Center operational. Chairman Bickford wants to wait until November so that the people can make the decision. I thought that was why we elected our Councilors to make the right decisions for our community.

We need to allow the PSAP to do its job and not handcuff them by forcing them to relay critical information for emergency services causing a delay in dispatching First Responders. The entire world is using the 911 system and it is a proven system or are we going to keep using our tax dollars to support an additional system that does the same thing.

The bottom line is what is best for Lisbon: 911 or 353-2500?
Larry Fillmore