911 Advisory Board discusses radio system, PowerPhone updates

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During the September meeting of the Morgan County 911 Advisory Board, the board discussed updates having to do with the county’s VHF radio and PowerPhone projects.

The board stated that the PowerPhone system, a software-based protocol system designed to handle most emergency calls, should be up and running by October.

A manual version of the system was passed around at the meeting. The manual version included tabbed pages with headings for different types of emergencies. Each page then listed the questions that the dispatcher should ask the caller and the order in which the questions should be asked.

“This [system] has become a standard of what people expect when they call 911,” said 911 Advisory Board Chairperson and Director of Operations for Morgan and Rockdale Counties for National EMS Huey Atkins.

Atkins then noted that “not everything is textbook” and that dispatchers will still have to rely on their own best judgment when following the protocols set out in the manual and software versions of PowerPhone.

Morgan County Fire Chief Mark Melvin stated that the very high frequency (VHF) digital radio system, which the Morgan County Board of Commissioners approved at their Sept. 3 meeting, should be completed by the end of the year.

The possibility of using the VHF digital radio system to dispatch National EMS was also brought up during the meeting. Melvin stated that, even though utilizing the radio system to dispatch EMS would be possible, it would be best to wait until the system is complete before exploring that potential benefit.

“We can make it work,” said Melvin.

The next meeting of the 911 Advisory Board will be held on Nov. 14 at 8:30 a.m. at the Morgan County Public Safety Complex.

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