New dispatch system is shaving seconds off of response time for Sioux City Fire Rescue

"From a technology standpoint, it’s night and day. I mean it’s going from a rotary phone to today’s highest quality cell phone, it really is," says Sioux City Fire Marshal Mark Aesoph. 

A new dispatching system could shave seconds off the response time it takes for Sioux City Fire Rescue to arrive at a scene. 

In the event of a fire, a few seconds are crucial. 

The previous paging system for Sioux City Fire Rescue is no longer serviceable. 

But a new system is already helping out dispatchers — as well as fire and E-M-S personnel — and it’s only been in place for a short time. 

The Phoenix G-2 Station Alerting System has been in trial mode for a few weeks in Sioux City. 

On Monday, Sioux City Fire Rescue moved over to the paging system full time.

It allows dispatchers to stay on the phone with a caller, all while paging rescue crews at the same time, using a computerized voice. 

"Sometimes our radios are not in the most conducive spot for hearing, background noises, different areas of buildings that we get into.," says  Fire Marshal Mark Aesoph. "So, this gives us a consistent voice that we can always hear and understand very readily."

Fire Marshal Mark Aespoh says anywhere between 15 and 30 seconds could be shaved off response time, all thanks to the new system. 

If there’s a fire in your home and crews are responding, those seconds could be life-saving. 

"A fire will double in size approximately every 30 seconds inside your home. So, by shaving 15 to 30 seconds off of our response time, it’s huge. I mean, that is a much smaller fire that we’re arriving to which, produces a greater likelihood of good outcomes. People escaping safely, you know if we’re needed for a rescue and smaller fires for us to put out, which keeps our people safe," says Aesoph. 

Sioux City Fire Rescue says the new system will be a huge help for dispatchers. 

"Where it’s really going to save us time is when that dispatch center is busy when 911 is ringing off the hook due to emergencies. They’ll have the ability to just keep sending them out while they’re never stopping. They can continue to answer calls, speak to people, gather information on what’s going on and the computer is automatically sending us all out," says Aesoph. 

The extra information dispatchers are able to gather could make all the difference in an emergency situation. 

"We constantly want to know is there anyone inside that structure, if they are, where were they last seen? What is the age? What is the size of the fire at this point? They can get a lot of information that helps us know what we’re going to do right when we get there," says Aesoph. 

Sioux City Fire rescue tells me they were in contact with other agencies that use the system. 

They say other agencies in Lincoln, Nebraska as well as outside of Des Moines have helped them prepare for the new dispatching system. 

The previous dispatching system Sioux City Fire Rescue was using is no longer able to be serviced because of the age of the system. 

Sioux City Fire Rescue says the technology in that system has been around for over a half-century. 

They say the parts to fix the system are no longer made. 

The new system has a price tag of $272,000. 

That money was paid in full with money from the9-1-1 service board. 

There’s a 911 service fee for all phones. 

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