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Community talks through the increasing burden facing 911 call centers

Members of the community come together to talk about the issues facing 9-1-1 call centers.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — At the Sylvania Branch library, a small smattering of people came together to discuss the 911 Regional Council of Governments. There have been trials and tribulations since the Lucas County 911 emergency call centers were consolidated down to one.

While attendees were either in person or watched on a Facebook live stream, the group was anything but quiet. But that is what community advocate and event co-organizer Michael Roby wanted.

"I just want to see how the community feels that the COG is going and see where we can improve and take the issues and the suggestions back to the board," Roby wanted.

It wasn't just community members who attended the event. There were dispatchers, EMS, and one fire chief in attendance. Toledo Dispatcher, James Theiss, says he came to explain how things are going. He explained to the crowd that there's a lack of proper training, typically 6 weeks of training is compressed to around 2 to 3 weeks. Additionally, staff members are overworked and understaffed.

Theiss advocates for having a minimum of 10 staff members. 10 desks are there to fill, yet they have not been. 

That means for Lucas County's 31 districts, where they were anywhere from 2 to 10 people per shift at a district, due to consolidation there are only 7 dispatchers at a time taking calls for all the districts.

While no solutions were given out, many people were able to air their grievances, ask questions, and overall walk away more informed than before.

"It was useful to put information out there so other people had it. Especially if they say they're not getting answers. I don't mind answering questions for them. Hopefully, I shed a little light and maybe some more questions can be answered," Theiss explained.

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