COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- The Collier County Sheriff's Office is buying an updated dispatch system that will loop in every firefighter, deputy, police officer and paramedic to get to your emergency faster. The minutes it takes to respond to a call could mean the difference between someone losing their property or their life. But, many times the calls firefighters get are somewhere along district lines where the closest unit might be from a different department.
"No matter what color it is or where it comes from the closest vehicle should respond to an emergency," said Deputy Chief Jorge Aguilera with North Naples Fire District.
Right now, the county and the cities of Naples and Marco Island are working under separate emergency dispatch systems, known as CAD or Computer Aided Dispatch. The current software doesn't read each other, so if North Naples Fire District needs additional assistance from the city they have to go through several steps.that could take valuable time.
"In our business seconds count," said Naples Fire Chief Stephen McInerny. "So anywhere we can shave seconds off the clock it makes a huge difference in people's lives."
There are also times when a call is too big for only department to respond. That's what happened during the massive fire last year that destroyed the YMCA in North Naples.
"We had to get additional resources," said Aguilera. "We had units from every district."
This new system will alert all stations across the county simultaneously and send alerts to first responders on their cell phones. The program will equip each fire truck, patrol car and ambulance with GPS transponders which will allow the program to automatically send the closest units. The new CAD system is costing $2.8 million and the money is being paid out of the county's 301 funds which are budgeted for capital projects. It won't be up and running for at least the next 18 months.