I am ashamed to have to write this article because I feel that our leadership should have been straight forward with the residents of Lisbon. Unfortunately, previous Town Council’s and the former Chief of Police were less than straight with the community when it came to the Lisbon Communication Center.
The first area is in terminology. What is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and how does it affect the residents of Lisbon. Not many people know this term for what it is but everyone knows it as the 911 emergency systems. This is the location where all 911 calls for Lisbon are received. It is located in Auburn at the Androscoggin County Dispatch.
Androscoggin County Dispatch receives all 911 calls for emergency service for Lisbon but they do not dispatch our first responders. Why you wonder? It is because previous Town Councils have demanded that instead of the 911 operators dispatching first responders they must contact Lisbon Communication Center so that they can dispatch our first responders. This current system is fine if the 911 operators can get through to the Lisbon Communication Center but there have been numerous times when the 911 operators cannot immediately get through to the Lisbon Communications Center. This creates an unnecessary delay in getting first responder to the scene of the emergency. This is a real problem with a simple solution and that is pay Androscoggin County Dispatch to contact our first responder directly and eliminate the middle step of notifying Lisbon Communication Center prior to dispatching first responders.
I am not saying anything against the Lisbon Communication Center but there is a better and faster way to get our first responders to the scene. As of October 1, 2016, not one of the dispatchers in the Lisbon Communication Center is even currently as Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD). This is critical because in a medical emergency only EMD’s are allowed to gather medical information in order to generate an Emergency Medical Code (EMC) which is used by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) to ensure that they have the proper medicine and equipment with them. This is crucial in order to treat a patient properly. Without this code, Lisbon resident’s lives are put at risk.
Keep in mind that Lisbon is the only town/city in Androscoggin County and as far as I know the state that is not properly using the 911 emergency correctly and it is costing the taxpayer over $350,000.00 annual. Previous Town Council determined that by paying Androscoggin County Dispatch to do our dispatching there was at that time a cost savings of $190,000.00 annually to the town. To me, it makes perfect sense to have Androscoggin County Dispatch perform our dispatching because it means the 911 operators who are also qualified as EMDs can dispatch our first responders immediately upon receipt of the 911 call for emergency services. It also saves the taxpayers a significant amount of money.
For the past two years, the Town Council did not take any action on this, knowing lives were placed at risk and that the town could save a great deal of money. The reason is because it is political. Maybe our new Council will put what is best for the community ahead of politics.
Call your Councilors and the Town Manager and express your concerns. It has cost the taxpayers roughly $380,000.00 tax dollars for the two years the Town Council failed to take action to correct this situation.