Central County Emergency 911 continues service expansion
By: Jim Erickson
Expansion of the Central County Emergency 911 dispatching center has taken another step forward with the approval of a contract with another fire protection district to join the operation. Central County’s Board of Directors also is moving on other issues that will have an impact on likely additional growth in coming months.
At its Jan. 10 meeting, the Board OK’d an agreement with the Affton Fire Protection District to provide dispatching services to that area, effective July 1. Affton is the fourth district that has or is scheduled to move from the South County Fire Alarm dispatching operation to Central County, joining Mehlville and Valley Park in a switch on July 1.
Central County began serving the Pacific Fire Protection District Jan. 1.
Robert Schultz, Central County legal counsel, told the Board he is holding discussions with the four remaining operations served by South County and anticipates all will agree to contract with the Ellisville-based center for their dispatching services.
Presumably, the four – the Crestwood Department of Fire Services and the Fenton, Lemay and Eureka fire protection districts – also would join the move to Central County effective July 1, the date by which South County’s operations are scheduled to end.
In other actions, the Board:
• Approved seeking vendor proposals for additional computer- and communications-related equipment needed to handle the higher call volume and dispatching activities.
•Authorized a new quality assurance position on the Central County staff. Earlier board discussion has emphasized the importance of maintaining a high level of quality service as the operation grows.
• Approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Firefighters of St. Louis
County Local 2665 that maintains the pay scales in effect at the end of 2012 for the next three years. The union represents most Central County personnel, however, Matt Miller, Board chairman, noted the wage freeze applies to non-union employees as well.
The pact calls for hourly dispatch personnel to receive base pay ranging from $21.84 to $29.25 per hour, depending on their grade level. Other working conditions and benefits also are covered in the new agreement.
In addition to serving operations that have been part of South County Fire Alarm, Central County also has stated a willingness to take on fire and emergency medical dispatching now handled by North Central Fire Alarm. A projected timetable sets July 1, 2014, as a target date for that expansion.