By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal
The Winston County E911 Advisory Board held a meeting on July 23 at the Winston County Annex Building to discuss concerns and make decisions about the future of the 911 services for the county.
The board also took this opportunity to nominate and elect officers for various positions.
The advisory board, which held their last meeting over a year ago, allowed for city and county representatives to come together with the board to re-establish relationships and introduce the newest members of the board. It also gave those officials the opportunity to express what they would like to see out of the 911 services in regards to resolving issues and improving the program for the benefits of the residents in the city and county.
The meeting began with an introduction of the members of the board. Newly hired Emergency Management Agency Director William “Buddy” King serves as the liaison for both the city and county to the board itself.
The other members serving on the board include LFD Fire Chief Terry Johnson, LPD Police Chief L.M. Claiborne, Louisville Postmaster Betty Roach, Winston County Volunteer Fire Association President Randal Livingston, Winston County Sheriff Jason Pugh, Noxapater Postmaster Ben Atkinson, Winston County Medical Center Administrator Lee McCall, and Louisville Utilities’ Wilson Webb.
After the introductions, Mayor Will Hill addressed the board. Hill expressed how he was delighted that the board itself would start to become more active. Hill reiterated the purpose of the board, which is to advise the city and county officials on the best direction and actions to take in regards to 911, and at the end of the day, the decisions would go to the county. He also explained the concerns with the financial implications of funding 911 with equipment that is needed.
The Winston County Board of Supervisors President Mike Peterson then addressed the board. Peterson welcomed King to the board and stated how lucky the county was to have him there.
Peterson expressed how he would like to see the city and county become one with each other and establish communication within the groups.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Robert Latham, Jr. then addressed the board. Latham, Jr. expressed how the agency is in the process of re-establishing their relationships with the counties. He explained that their priority was to serve the counties and build a trust between each other that will benefit the citizens during times of emergency. He felt it was their job to provide the counties with the resources needed to give the people in the community a feeling of safety and well-being that they will be taken care of it any issues occur.
The first item on the agenda was a review & discussion to approve the by-laws that will be used to govern the board. The by-laws would be the framework on how the board operates. The board discussed adding two more members to the board that would represent the East Mississippi Electric Power Association and LifeCare EMS Ambulance Services.
To add those members, the board discussed amending the interlocal agreement from 2005. The board agreed to make the amendment to allow those members to be on the board.
After the amendment, the board made a motion to approve the acceptance of the by-laws per review by legal counsel. The motion was seconded and approved by the board.
Next on the agenda was the election of officers to serve on the board. A motion was made for King to serve as Chairman of the E911 Advisory Board. The board passed the motion.
For Vice-Chairman, Police Chief Claiborne was nominated for the position. The board passed this motion, making Claiborne Vice-Chairman.
Betty Roach received the nomination to serve as Secretary for the board. After the close of nominations, Roach was elected to the Secretary position.
After the elections, Mississippi Department of Public Safety Director of Training Alan Gray addressed the board in regards to 911 dispatchers. Gray explained the minimal standards of employing and training of emergency telecommunicators. He explained that any telecommunicators that dispatch emergency medical services must complete an approved EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) Course, which is a minimal of 24 hours.
Once they completed, they receive a certificate, which will last three years. The certificate must be recertified every three years. They also are required to do continued training as well, equaling no less than 48 hours. These hours must consist of six different subject matters in order to meet the qualification.
Addressing the board next was Marjorie Fletcher of Lifecare EMS. Fletcher wanted to address the board in regards to the dispatching system between their service and the 911 services.
She requested a change in the procedure of dispatching calls due to issues regarding roads that have similar names. Another issue that she addressed was the issue of residences without identifying numbers their mailboxes. Without these numbers, the ambulance service is wasting valuable time looking for the correct address.
To help with a solution for this, the board discussed trying to campaign for residents to number their mailboxes or some way to display that number for identification. Residents are urged to mark their mailboxes with numbers for the sake of emergency purposes.
The board then discussed the time of their next meeting. The board agreed that meeting more often would help with following up on things discussed during this meeting.
The next meeting of the E911 Advisory Board will be at the Winston County Annex Building on September 12, 2012 at 10 a.m.