Thursday, February 2, 2017

RECAP TOWN COUNCIL WORKSHOP – JANUARY 31ST

This is a very brief summary of last night’s Town Council workshop pertaining to the Lisbon Communication Center. This workshop lasted close to three (3) and half hours. It was extremely educational and provided a great deal of information. 

Chairman Ward had Sherriff Samson from Androscoggin County and Martin Fontaine, Communication Director, to explain how the Androscoggin County Dispatch operates and how it can help the community. Also Chairman Ward invited several Department Heads to explain how the loss of the Lisbon Communication Center would impact them.

Sheriff Samson and Martin Fontaine did an excellent job outlining the procedures that Androscoggin County Dispatch uses and would provide to Lisbon. Both individuals also answered ALL questions from Council and the audience. This presentation was both education and filled in a lot of missing information. However, it did bring out several areas that needed to be addressed about the lack of qualified individual of Lisbon Communication Center. According to Chief Hagen, there are no dispatchers certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD). 

The EMT representing Lisbon Emergency which has a contract to provide medical support for the community explained how very critical it is for EMTs to have an Emergency Medical Code (EMC) prior to responding to an emergency situation. The Lisbon Communication Center does not have anyone qualified to establish the EMC. If you call 911, Androscoggin County Dispatchers are EMD qualified and establish an EMC code and currently pass it along to Lisbon Communication Center for the EMTs. The current system demands that all emergency situation received by Androscoggin County Dispatch have to be relayed to the Lisbon Communication Center prior to dispatching OUR First Responders to the scene. This wastes critical time in getting to the patient. Androscoggin County Dispatchers should be able to dispatch OUR First Responders upon receiving the call for emergency services, the same as it does for the rest of the county they service. The EMT explained that calls by residents using 353-2500 do not have qualified personnel to establish the critical EMC needed by the EMTs and how having this code increases the chances of survival of the patient.

It appears that ALL the questions for switching to Androscoggin County Dispatch for emergency services have now been answered. All the questions remaining are for Chief Hagan and how to provide services to the community without the Lisbon Communication Center. This is not a difficult task since the entire state has gone through this process so there are massive numbers of options available. I am very positive that Chief Hagan will be able to handle this task without any problems.

During the workshop members of the audience asked if the driving force behind this discussion was money driven. Trust me on this, when I tell you IT IS NOT MONEY DRIVEN. There is a cost savings by moving to Androscoggin County Dispatch of approximately $94,000.00 but we all know that the Council will ALWAYS find a way to spend any savings. There were other members whom tried to confuse the real issues in an attempt to protect former Chief Brooks’ legacy. Finally, one individual objected to change. It is a fact that technology has advanced and Lisbon, in order to keep up, needs to take advantage of it.
For me it is very simple, the Town Council and all members of the government are tasked with providing a safe environment in which to live. Anything less than providing the very best possible safe environment is reckless and the town should be held accountable. The current situation requires the 911 operators to notify the Lisbon Communication Center in order to have them dispatch First Responders is NOT providing the best service available when everywhere else is having the 911 operators dispatching First Responders. It should be the primary goal of everyone is to provide the best quality of live possible to our people. This should be the ONLY determining factor in this case and that means having a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) dispatch OUR First Responders immediately upon receipt of a 911 call.
MORE TO COME!

Larry Fillmore