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New Hamilton County Dispatch System Improving Fire/EMS Communications

Hamilton County Communications Center
The new Locution automated dispatch system gets information out faster and frees dispatchers to handle more calls.

Hamilton County's new fire and EMS dispatching program is up and running.

Communications Director Andrew Knapp says Locution is an automated voice dispatch system that sends information faster and more efficiently.

"We anticipate a significant decrease in our processing time, meaning that we are getting the first responders out on the street much, much faster than we'd had the ability to in the past," he says.

Locution is also reducing the amount of talk time on emergency radio channels. Knapp says the center cut 18 hours of talk time in just one week of use.

Dispatchers are free to handle other calls since they're spending less time on processing and sending information. All data and signals are sent simultaneously.

"From listening to the radio, the dispatchers are available on a more frequent basis [and] the responders aren't waiting on additional dispatches to go out. This is much more efficient," he says.

That's especially important since the communications center processes a high volume of calls.

Locution uses an automated voice created using human voice files. Knapp says that makes the voice clear and easily understood, plus it always transmits at the same volume with information in the same order. Previously, levels and order of information might vary based on which dispatcher was speaking.

The new system was projected to cost $261,000 but it came in under budget at $247,837.

Several other regional departments already use Locution and Cincinnati is in the process of getting it.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.