By Stephanie Johns
Members of the Morgan County 911 Advisory Board discussed several communications-related items at their January meeting.
They heard updates on narrowbanding, their radio system, their call handling system, and their voice recorder replacement.
County Fire Chief Mark Melvin said they finished with the narrowbanding in November.
When the federal government cut radio frequencies in half to create more some county and city equipment was unable to accept these “half frequencies” so the equipment had to be swapped over.
They have replaced a seal on a box on Hancock Street and repaired equipment there that was damaged when it rained and water leaked through the seal. They have replaced 300 feet of coaxial cable on Lions Club Road as well as an antenna in Bostwick.
Morgan County E911 Communications Supervisor Bill Crew said he loved the online training for the Power Phone Total Response Call Handling System.
He said the online training offered the option of doing the training at work or at home. It also was split into modules so trainees could take a break or take calls as needed.
“It’s very user friendly,” he said, adding that it was interactive with quizzes, video, and audio.
He said one Tennessee colleague said his agency saved about $1,200 a year in training costs.
“It’s definitely a better way to go,” he said.
He noted that the main software will ride on the CAD server so no other equipment is needed.
As to the voice recorder replacement, Crew said the new one was installed Jan. 7.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s very, very user friendly.”
He pointed out that up to eight people can be on it at the same time, which was not the case with the old recorder.
He estimated that it will take about five years to fill up the main memory, about three years to fill up the removable hard drive backup, and about a year to fill up the redundant USB backup.
“It’s well worth our effort and money to upgrade,” he said.
Crew said the GIS system upgrades have hit a snag.
Michelle Salter, Tax Assessor/GIS with the Morgan County Tax Assessors Office, is helping them with this. Following a change in personnel in the tax office it was determined that some data was lost so Salter will have to start from scratch.
Crew said that Salter has been “a great help” and that she has been uploading aerial maps.
On the 911 side of the project, Crew said they have primary, secondary, and even tertiary ways in as well as a high and a low cross street as opposed to only a single cross street.
The 911 center has had their new wireless headsets for about a month. They have four bay stations and 15 headsets.
Melvin said they have cut down on background noise and allow them to move around the 911 area and still have coverage.
“I haven’t heard any complaints,” he said.
In other news:
• Melvin said he would meet with the radio system consultant last Thursday afternoon following their board meeting. He hopes to share a final report with the board within the next two weeks.
Printed in the January 17, 2013 edition.