South County officials fixing troubled dispatch system
September 22, 2014
A month after an Oceano home burned while public safety agencies played phone tag, South County officials say they have corrected their troubled dispatch system. [KSBY]
After neighbors first reported the Oceano house fire on Aug. 21, it took dispatchers nearly five minutes to notify the Five Cities Fire Authority about the situation. The 911 call went first to the California Highway Patrol, then to Cal Fire, then to the Grover Beach dispatch center, which finally informed the fire authority that it needed to send personnel to extinguish the blaze.
The fire began in the backyard, but it spread to the home before responders arrived. It took more than eight minutes for the first truck to arrive.
Officials said the phone tag problem stemmed from the initial call coming from a cell phone. Due to the location of cell phone towers, most cell phone 911 calls in the area have gone first to the CHP.
On Friday, Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey made a presentation to the Five Cities Fire Board of Directors in which he announced that 911 calls from cell phones in the area will now go directly to the Grover Beach dispatch center. The dispatch center also made technological improvements that will allow it to send alarm tones and information to the fire authority’s mobile computer system.
Copsey said the dispatch center worked with the CHP, Cal Fire and the county sheriff’s office to work out the kinks.