Tazewell Co. dispatch uses text messages to alert responders - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Tazewell Co. dispatch uses text messages to alert first responders

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TAZEWELL, Va (WVVA)-- Some area first responders have a new way to communicate during emergencies.

 The Tazewell County 911 Center now has the ability to mass-text information emergency workers need on the job.

This texting capability is a new addition to the computer dispatch program that the Tazewell county 911 center is already using.

Dispatchers can now text fire, EMS, and other emergency workers when they are needed, what address they should go to, and other background information they need when responding to a call.

Firefighters tell us this not only keeps them all on the same page, but it can also notify them they're needed at times pagers aren't with them.

This also allows for a faster response, said Sheriff Brian Hieatt.

"That way if their pager is in a different room, or maybe their pager isn't working right, then they're getting that text message," said Hieatt. "It's just a way to double up and get them out there so we have emergency crews on the way."

Tazewell Co. Fire Rescue chief Scott Cornwell said this also lightened the load on dispatchers during hectic situations.

"Our people don't have to keep hollering at dispatch, 'Where's the address?' 'Where's this?'" he said. "It just eliminates that communication on them and makes their job easier when preparing for another call."

Hieatt said the funding for this new addition was provided through a budget approved by the board of supervisors. He added the county started using these new text alerts about a month ago, and so far it's going very well.

It doesn't work with straight-talk phones, but does work with all major carriers. 
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