Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County first in state to launch ‘Priority Fire Dispatch'

June 14, 2007
Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Dane County this month became Wisconsin’s first to launch a fire emergency system that makes sure the appropriate vehicles and number of responders rush to the scene without leaving the next fire call scrambling for trucks and personnel. “This will get the right equipment at the right place in the right way at the right time,” Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said of the program known as Priority Fire Dispatch. “It’s more rigorous and efficient than our current method of gathering and passing on information.” Falk told a Thursday news conference at the Dane County 911 Center the new program provides 911 communicators with tested and proven scripts to get the best information to determine the level of response. Blooming Grove fire Chief Glenn Linzmeier, also the president of the Dane County Fire Chiefs Association, agreed, adding the system’s ability to allocate the appropriate resources ensures other response vehicles are available for the next call. And that ability, he said, is a key reason Priority Fire Dispatch has the association’s support. “It’s great for the fire service,” Linzmeier said. “Dane County is on the cutting edge of emergency fire dispatch – where we are using the caller’s input to determine the resources needed to mitigate the incident at hand.” The implementation of the program, which couples national fire standards with computer technology, follows on the heels of other county initiatives including Advance Life Support, the 12-Lead Program and improved ambulance and paramedic services for those in accidents or facing sudden illness. Like the county’s Priority Medical Dispatch program started in 2002, Priority Fire Dispatch also gets help quickly and directly to callers as communicators deliver safety and medical instructions over the telephone. The major difference is what gets said and how it gets said, Falk said. “The words are scripted. It is a protocol where you picture a flow chart and every case is handled in the same way, but with the flexibility to use questions geared toward different problems.” The fire system was launched at 7 a.m. on June 4, and took its first emergency call at 8:05 a.m. – a vehicle fire west of Verona. Communicators are on track to complete 28 hours of training for the dispatch system, funded with $157,000 in 2007 budget dollars for both training and equipment. ###