City looks to improve its 911 operations
Published on August 18, 2022
What it does: Funds a review of 911 operations and pays for a 911 director.
What’s the benefit to taxpayers? Fort Worth’s first responders want to reach all emergencies as quickly as possible, particularly those where time is of the essence in saving lives. This review will lead to the latest technology and best practices in emergency response.
What’s the budget proposal: $918,000
What’s next: The mayor and council is considering the proposal in the FY23 budget. The council votes on the budget in September.
A recent study of staffing issues in the Fort Worth Fire Department and its Emergency Management Office has led City officials to start looking at improving its 911 operations.
The proposal is in response to mayor and council direction to improve public safety.
“We have had a lot of challenges, but this proposal lets us review our operations so we can provide best-in-class services to our residents,” said Valerie Washington, assistant city manager.
The new study will explore areas aimed at lowering emergency response time, among other things.
Under consideration is the possible consolidation of the police, fire and MedStar dispatch center into one space, and finding ways for the fire department and MedStar to provide an equity of care.
The staffing study found that three different dispatch centers means different procedures, Washington said. Consolidation could create better accountability of calls and responses.
A consultant could assess how the City can respond to lower priority calls and in providing public education on when 911 is truly needed.
Some changes could come quickly. Currently, callers to 911 push a button to select police or fire, but not MedStar. Adding the ambulance option could reduce some response times.
Exploring additional technology improvements are on the list, as well as possible restructuring of services, Washington said.
MedStar is the local ambulance service serving Fort Worth and 14 other communities. Fort Worth is its largest user.
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