Jennings County, IN: Ensuring Call Taking Consistency on Every Call for Help

Agency Profile

Jennings County 911 has been providing uninterrupted service to the citizens of North Vernon and Jennings County, Indiana, for over 13 years. They currently process over 27,000 emergency calls a year. The 911 center handles calls for the North Vernon Police Department, Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, Jennings County EMS Rescue 20, Indiana State Police, conservation officers, seven volunteer fire departments, PHI Dove Flight, and various other departments. With such a wide range of responsibilities, it made sense for Jennings County to seek a comprehensive and customizable emergency call handling solution.

According to Matthew Alexander, Executive Director of Jennings County 911, “someone very forward-thinking,” proposed a plan to consolidate several agencies into one dispatching center back in 1994. Now, Jennings County 911 has been in operation as a consolidated center for over 13 years, well ahead of its time. A state mandate is now in place for all Indiana counties to consolidate their 911 emergency response systems.

Challenge

Along with agency consolidation came the need for a consolidated method of dispatching. It was no longer every center for themselves. Jennings County needed a consistent, standardized method of handling calls for multiple Police, Fire, EMS, and ancillary departments. They chose to adopt Total Response to meet their needs for an integrated call taking software.

Jennings County was pleased with the results and the level of consistency their busy communications center was able to reach.

It's nice to have everyone on the same page, using the same protocols. The experienced dispatchers can recite them by memory, and for the new people, it’s an essential tool for knowing what questions to ask and what pre-arrival instructions to give,” Alexander said.

Solution

Jennings County also because a big support of the Quality Assurance process and software within Total Response, “The quality assurance process gives you something to evaluate your call handling by,” Alexander said.

The quality assurance process gives you something to evaluate your call handling by. I like that you can assign a grade to calls, which has made every dispatcher more aware that they’re being graded, so they’re hitting on more of the key questions that they might not have focused on before.

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