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Council tables false alarm ordinance, discusses fire/EMS calls
by Bobby Tedder
September 26, 2012 04:38 PM | 2269 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Improving the process concerning transference of fire and EMS calls involving Dunwoody and DeKalb County continues to be a work in progress.

All 911 calls requiring fire or emergency medical services — originating within Dunwoody’s borders — are now transferred via ChatComm to DeKalb for the dispatching of “appropriate” resources.

“We continue to press on this … are continuing to engage any and all members of DeKalb teams to help us in moving this project forward,” said Kimberly Greer, assistant to the Dunwoody city manager.

Greer’s remarks came during Dunwoody City Council’s Sept. 24 meeting.

Throughout a recent eight-month period since the transition, on average it takes one minute 30 seconds from the time a given call hits the automatic call distributer in ChatComm until a DeKalb call-taker enters the call into the latter’s system. Once DeKalb controls the call, it then takes two-plus minutes to send the call to dispatch, according to a report from the city manager’s office.

“In an effort to eliminate the delay experienced from transferring fire and EMS calls between the two 911 centers, our staff continues to work diligently on the Computer Aided Dispatch, or Interface,” Greer said.

The county’s legal and contracting division has in recent weeks been reviewing an intergovernmental agreement for fire and EMS dispatching that Dunwoody officials adopted last September.

Once the intergovernmental pact has been adopted by the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, the county will then allow the installation of the data connection and firewall which will provide the connection necessary for testing to begin, Greer said.

Council addressed several other matters during its meeting.

It approved a Georgia Department of Natural Resources agreement amendment for Brook Run Trail Phase 1.

The city is applying for $100,000 in agency grant funds to create a multi-use trail at the park.

The Department of Natural Resources has agreed to the change in scope of the project involving installation of a 12-feet wide concrete trail designed to “provide a better recreational amenity in the park and allow for future connectivity to future park sites,” said Brent Walker, Dunwoody Parks and Recreation manager.

In other business, council tabled discussion of an ordinance — second read — to amend Chapter 24 to adopt regulations governing false alarms.

“The language has been clarified about what we’d call a verified response and what we would still respond to under that section,” said Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan. “And, the effective date has been changed to April 1 to make sure we have enough time to implement it.”

Who is to be assessed a registration fee is yet another wrinkle to the ordinance.

“I’m glad to see the false alarm ordinance come back but with the modifications that the commercial alarm owner pays a $25 annual fee and the residential owner still registers annually but with no fee assessed,” said Councilman Terry Nall. “Our intent here is to have the program be self-supporting, not a money maker but not a cost either.”

Grogan said it is hard to say for sure at this point whether the fees collected will cover the cost of the program.

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