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While most residents are sleeping tonight, Spencer County’s 911 emergency dispatching phone lines will be quietly transferred to state police dispatchers in Frankfort. The midnight move of services comes after more than a year of debates and planning.
Few will notice any changes in the coming days, said Capt. Mike Crawford – except for the small group of folks that sometimes use local dispatchers for instant news reports.
“If you are used to seeing a police car going through town, picking up the phone and asking ‘What’s going on?’ – that’s not going to happen,” said Crawford. The Kentucky State Police Post 12 commander said Frankfort dispatchers will be as polite as possible, but will not release information to the general public in that manner.
Residents are, however, encouraged to call with crime tips. Crawford said that KSP dispatchers will be available 24-hours a day to answer Spencer County’s non-emergency line at 477-5533. The number will continue to be a local call and residents will not incur any long distant phone charges.
Remember, said Crawford, 911 is for emergencies only. The definition of an emergency would be any incident that poses an immediate or potential threat to life or property.
As emergency medical dispatchers, KSP’s 911 staff will be able to provide basic instructions for callers in the midst of crisis. Crawford said that Post 12 dispatchers have guided people through performing first aid, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and – on one occasion, helped a 911 caller deliver a baby.
“We’re going to tell you what to do unless you are too distraught or you refuse to administer care,” said Crawford. “Our goal is for you to keep them breathing and alive until the professionals get there.”
During a recent visit to Post 12, Spencer County EMT Chris Limpp was glad to hear that 911 dispatchers would now be providing emergency medical assistance. “This is going to be a lot better for the people that call in,” he said.
When it comes to getting help to those in need, Crawford said his philosophy for dispatchers is to find the closest unit to the scene rather than worrying about jurisdictions. Sometimes that has meant calling off-duty EMS or police officers to assist temporarily until tied-up units can respond.
“We don’t care who gets the call. We just want to get help there as soon as possible,” said Crawford.
Personnel employed by local police, fire and emergency medical departments will notice an immediate difference after today, said Crawford. With their increased level of expertise and sophisticated mapping equipment, he said Spencer County emergency services will be provided greater efficiency and professionalism.
“Our emergency people are 100 percent behind this,” said Fire Chief Nathan Nation, who also acted at chairman of Spencer County’s 911 committee. “Not only is this a great value to us, it’s going to be a great value to the citizens.”
Sheriff Steve Coulter said Monday that while the service to be provided by KSP will be good, he was not prepared to say it would be better. “They (current dispatch service) did the best they could with the equipment they had,” said Coulter. “I hate to see us lose local jobs.”
Spencer County Dispatch Coordinator Marlene Cranmer said she will have to lay off five full- and part-time employees. Fiscal court has been contracting emergency dispatching services with Cranmer since 2006. In May 2009, magistrates formed a committee to begin looking at the feasibility of managing the service as a branch of county government. The cost of updating communication equipment was one of the factors that led the 911 committee to recommend outsourcing the service. The county estimates it will save $40,000 by contracting emergency dispatch services through KSP.
“I’m all for saving money,” said Cranmer. “If they can save that much money that’s what it’s all about.”
Cranmer recently was awarded a $9,600 annual contract with the City of Taylorsville to answer water customer calls after-hours. Cranmer said that she does not plan to hire any employees to assist with taking the calls.
Calling for help
The Spencer County 911 Committee and Kentucky State Police have provided some examples of when to dial 911 and when not to do so. While not complete, the list may be used as a general guide. For situations that are considered non-emergency please call our administrative line at 477-5533.
WHEN TO CALL 911
Any immediate or potential threat to life or property
Any vehicle accident
Any medical emergency
Any fire emergency
Any suspicious persons, vehicles or activity
Any type of fight or disturbance (except non-emergency complaints, such as dog barking or loud music)
Child locked in a vehicle
Any other actual or perceived emergency
a burglary prowler outside your home
crimes in progress or those that have just occurred
suspicious persons or vehicles
physical fight in progress
any public safety situation that seems urgent and has the potential of escalating by not calling 911
These emergencies are situations where waiting to see a family doctor could threaten someone’s life.
Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) ee
Bloody diarrhea ee
Chest pain or heart attack ee
Drug overdose ee
Heat stroke ee
Rectal bleeding ee
Shortness of breath ee
Slurred speech ee
Uncontrolled bleeding ee
Vomiting blood ee
Sudden Weakness ee
For medical emergencies, the dispatcher can provide medically trained personnel who can tell you what to do until the ambulance arrives.
WHEN NOT TO CALL 911
Checking on power, phone, or cable outages
Inquiring about road conditions
Asking for weather conditions
Paying for citations
Asking for the correct time
Inquiring about fireworks displays, the start of hunting season, or other events
Checking on the status of school closings
Asking for directions
Asking for telephone numbers (dial 4-1-1, unless life or property is threatened)
Seeking advice on legal matters
Reporting barking dogs, cats in trees, or stray animals (non-threatening animal complaints)
Reporting you are locked out of home or vehicle (unless a child is in vehicle)
A joke (this ties up the lines and may cause a true emergency to be delayed)
An emergency for your pet
To report a traffic jam
Please remember, calling 9-1-1 for a non-emergency may threaten the life of someone else.
The non-emergency number for the Communications Department is 477-5533. This number is manned 24 hours a day.