Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

911: Past time to upgrade system

Letter by Kurt A. Weihs, Spanaway on Oct. 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm | 31 Comments »
October 20, 2011 12:17 pm

I work for West Pierce Fire and Rescue as a 911 dispatch supervisor. I have worked in the field for over 25 years.

1. Despite what the “No” campaign would have you believe, there are many dispatchers who support Proposition 1. My own guild and IAFF Local 31 have voted to endorse the proposition. We represent over 95 percent of the fire and EMS dispatchers in Pierce County.

2. Our facilities are severely overtaxed. They were never designed to support the power drain we place on them today. The simple act of plugging in a vacuum cleaner has taken my 911 center offline for hours. They were never designed to house the number of employees we have today. We have to place tarps over our radio equipment so that rainwater seeping through cracks doesn’t fry million dollar electronics.

3. We use a radio system that was fine for 1985, but today we daily deal with units that are unable to reach or hear us. A few weeks ago we had a house fire in the Eatonville area where we were unable to hear some transmissions. If someone had become trapped we’d have never heard it. The firefighters and paramedics I dispatch are at risk.

Passing Proposition 1 will build badly needed dispatch facilities in a responsible, efficient way. Our radios will be brought into the 21st century. All for the cost of less than a penny for every latte you buy.

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