This week, the Hawkins County Emergency Communications District, or E-911, is retraining dispatchers to be able to give step-by-step instructions for different first aid situations after it was discovered the dispatchers lacked required training.
A special called meeting of the HCECD Board was held on Sunday to authorize $10,000 to be paid to trainer Dorothy Cave to retrain all the dispatchers in Association of Public Safety-Communications Officials training. The $10,000 cost will be paid through E-911 savings. Because of the lack of training, the E-911 was out of compliance with state law.
“The E-911 Director (Gay Murrell) told us that she had a training coordinator that was in charge of this,” Safety Committee Member and County Commissioner Mike Herrell said. “(The dispatchers) didn’t get all of the training that was required. We didn’t know they were out of compliance and they didn’t know.”
The Hawkins County training coordinator has since resigned.
Under APCO International standards, a dispatcher can walk a caller through different situations of first aid, but as of right now, dispatchers are only allowed to take basic information and dispatch rescue personnel, nothing else beyond that.
In addition to conducting the training, Cave will oversee an audit of the E-911 department. A Personnel Committee meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday to update the audit’s findings. Cave will be in Hawkins County all week for the training and audit.
“We brought the training up on Thursday, then we researched and APCO contacted me about it on Friday,” Herrell said. “Hawkins County 911 can’t use APCO training until the dispatchers are recertified. It’s a mess to be honest with you, but we’ve got to get it fixed.”
Training will be good for two years. All nine dispatchers are having to be recertified.