Rural Mont. firefighter shortage could increase response times | Firefighters create fire safety houses for children | Blind dispatcher wins state award after overcoming challenges
September 21, 2016
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Making the Call
Rural Mont. firefighter shortage could increase response times
The number of rural Montana firefighters is decreasing, which could affect emergency response times to fast-moving wildfires, said Bob Harrington of the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Harrington said there are limits to how long volunteer firefighters can be away from their families and jobs, and added staffing will continue to be a challenge in rural areas in the future.
Billings Gazette (Mont.) (9/15) 
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Firefighters create fire safety houses for children
Fire departments in Pleasant View, Tenn., and Broome County, N.Y., have created fire safety houses in trailers to teach children about safety. Lessons in the Broome County trailer also cover burn prevention and calling 9-1-1.
WKRN-TV (Nashville, Tenn.) (9/13),  WBNG-TV (Johnson City, N.Y.) (9/19) 
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Policy Pulse
Opinion: Classifying dispatchers as clerical workers is misguided
Despite the fact that dispatchers need "specialized skills and training" to save lives, the federal Office of Management and Budget is proposing to classify the position as an "Office and Administrative Support Occupation," writes Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif. This "diminishes the vital role dispatchers play and perpetuates a stereotype that impacts the resources available to dispatchers and 9-1-1 systems, particularly at a time when rapid technological changes are increasing demands on dispatchers," Torres writes.
The Hill (9/20) 
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Colo. 9-1-1 agencies file complaints about summer outages
Several state 9-1-1 agencies filed complaints with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission against communications companies over summer 9-1-1 outages, claiming in part that they had not been notified in a timely manner. A state legislative committee is studying how to improve the state's patchwork 9-1-1 system, including looking toward next-generation 9-1-1 technologies and FirstNet.
Durango Herald (Colo.) (9/16) 
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Innovation Insights
NYC police use mass alert to help find bombing suspect
New York City police used the Wireless Emergency Alert system on Monday to send out a mass cellphone notification about a suspect who was sought in connection with the Manhattan explosion Saturday night. It was the first time the police used the mass alert, which asked people to call 9-1-1 if they saw the individual, who was ultimately arrested within three hours.
CNNMoney (9/19),  Computerworld (9/19) 
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EMTs on bikes respond to 9-1-1 calls in Colo. city
Emergency medical technicians respond on bicycles to some calls in downtown Fort Collins, Colo., on the weekends in an effort to improve 9-1-1 response times and help keep ambulances free to respond to life-threatening situations. In August, the teams responded to 33 incidents, which resulted in eight patients being transported by ambulance to a hospital.
The Coloradoan (Fort Collins, Colo.) (tiered subscription model) (9/19) 
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