Backup center for 911 is fully equipped

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 12/6/18

Setup work for Bradley County’s backup 911 center is complete, now that the logger/recorder was hooked up during the week of Nov. 5.

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Backup center for 911 is fully equipped

Posted

Setup work for Bradley County’s backup 911 center is complete, now that the logger/recorder was hooked up during the week of Nov. 5.

“As far as I can tell, we are finished with any current equipment we could need,” Bradley County 911 Emergency Communications Center Director Sherri Maxfield told the Bradley County Emergency Communications District board of directors on Wednesday.

Maxfield said all phone lines and radios are now being recorded at the secondary location. The backup 911 center can operate in two ways: as a “slave” off the main 911 center, and independently.

“We have used it twice for two special events,” Maxfield said. The first time was for event communication at the Halloween Block Party; the second was for the annual Christmas Parade on Dec. 2.

“Plans are being made to move daily operations to the backup center several times annually, to test the secondary location and to ensure a smooth switchover,” Maxfield said.

911 Board Chairman Troy Spence, who is also director of the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, said he is glad to have a redundant center of communications, noting “we did it relatively economically, in my opinion.”

The backup 911 center, located on the second floor of the Cleveland Police Department, was approved in 2017 by the 911 board of directors to serve not only as a backup, but additional site to assist the present center should it be necessary in certain situations.

In other business, the 911 board:

• Approved the treasurer’s report for October. The report showed a beginning balance of $3,417,774.43, with $278,859.62 in total deposits and expenditures of $184,750.85. The ending balance for October was $3,511,883.20. The treasurer’s report for November will be presented during the 911 Board’s next meeting, in February.

• Heard from the Facilities and Equipment Committee about planned projects at the 911 center.

“We’re looking at replacing all the fluorescent lights in the building with LEDs,” Spence said. “It possibly could save us quite a bit of money doing that.”

He said the committee is also looking at replacing ceiling tiles to help with noise reduction as carpet is replaced with tile throughout the building. Pricing information is being gathered on the lights and ceiling tiles.

• Heard from Maxfield that she met with 911 officials from Polk County, who asked to be notified if Bradley County plans to sell any of its used equipment.

“They expressed they would love to acquire that equipment as parts for their system,” Maxfield said, adding there are several items of equipment in storage. “It’s just equipment that’s really hard for them to find.”

Maxfield asked the Polk County officials for a specific list of equipment they are looking for so it could be matched against the unused, stored items here.

Spence suggested designating any surplus equipment to be put on GovDeals.com for sale, to avoid the appearance of “playing favorites.” He said other counties may be looking for the same items Polk County mentioned.

Maxfield said the Polk County officials use GovDeals.com, and only asked Bradley County Emergency Communications District to give a “heads up” if any items are put up for sale on the website.

• Heard from Maxfield that the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board partnered with a company called ECaTS (Emergency Call Tracking System) to monitor 911 calls across the state.

“That was free to us,” Maxfield said, adding that districts that chose to participate are able to monitor 911 call activity by the hour – or even by the minute – at other 911 centers across the state.

Maxfield said she monitored the system one day and saw Bradley County consistently was fourth or fifth in call volume, following behind Shelby County (Memphis), Nashville and Hamilton County.

• Heard from Spence that a fee on radios used for emergency communication is expected to increase. He said the cost increase is projected at $2 per radio used in Bradley County. That increase will bring the annual cost per radio to $120, which is approximately $10,000 total.

Spence said the price is going up because the microwave radio system the radios use is being replaced at a cost of about $2 million.

“I’ll get with all the departments individually,” Spence said. “We’re only increasing it the amount we feel we need.”

Mahn said each entity that uses the radio system pays on a per-radio basis.

“It’s a self-funded system,” he said.

• Heard from board attorney Michael Mahn that TECB voted to give Bradley County an additional $193,000 in revenue collected through fees. He said a change was initiated three years ago in legislation to allow the Tennessee Department of Revenue to collect TECB fees. Mahn said in the new year he is hopeful to have legislation to another state board to “set rates … that are adequate for 911 districts.”

• Was introduced to Aaron Hood, service area manager for Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s Cleveland and Benton offices. Hood introduced himself as the contact person in the event the 911 Board requires assistance in the future.

The next meeting of the Bradley County Emergency Communications District Board of Director is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 27.

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