City telecommunicators getting new dispatch software

Cullman Fire Rescue Station no. 3 (Tiffany McKoy for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The City of Cullman’s emergency dispatch center will be using new software in order to better assist the residents of Cullman. According to Cullman Fire Rescue EMS Officer Danny Cain the new technology is called ProQA Dispatch Software and was purchased from Priority Dispatch Corp. this month.

According to the product’s website, “The ProQA Dispatch Software integrates the power of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s protocols with today’s critical computer technologies. It helps emergency dispatchers move smoothly through call entry and key questioning. It assists dispatchers in quickly identifying the appropriate response code. The response configuration is specifically assigned to the code by local agency authorities. ProQA then guides dispatchers in providing all relevant Post-Dispatch and Pre-Arrival Instructions, as well as important case completion information.”

Cain said that right now, dispatchers use standalone computer aided dispatch (CAD) software that requires them to memorize key questions and instructions.

“There will be a three- to five-month implementation period until it is fully operational. During this period, the new protocols will be written, our telecommunicators will complete their training on the new program and the new software will be integrated with the existing computer-aided dispatch software,” he said.

Included in the purchase of the program was 24-hour training for all City of Cullman telecommunicators.

Cain said what prompted the change was the need for standardized operations.

“Our department does extensive new hire training along with continuing education. Cullman city telecommunicators do a phenomenal job dispatching for police and fire and also directing medical calls to (Cullman) EMS,” he said. “I felt like this program will help improve the service and safety that our telecommunicators will provide to our community and first responders.”

This change will coincide with the move to a new dispatch center. Currently housed in Cullman City Hall, the City’s emergency dispatch center will move to Cullman Fire Rescue Station no. 3 along Alabama Highway 157 soon.

Said Cain, “We hope to be in the new dispatch center by May. According to the Priority Dispatch timeline, we should be in the new center before implementation is completed. This will give us time to make sure everything is up and running and to hopefully fix any issues that may arise before starting a new program.”

Cullman EMS and Cullman County Fire use the program now, and have had great success with it according to Cain.

“I believe this will help with resource allocation, along with first responder safety,” he said.

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