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Carbon aims to improve 911 responses

Published August 02. 2013 05:04PM

Carbon County is working to ensure accuracy for 911 calls.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve a professional services agreement with Essential Management Solutions, Inc. of Pottsville, for wireless accuracy testing and post deployment and validation services, Wireless Tower Management System and Watchdog implementation. The cost of the project is $104,992 and will be funded through Act 56.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, explained the action is for the installation of a web-based data system to help ensure all calls are going to the proper communication center.

Currently, the county must contract with Essential Management Solutions annually to complete accuracy testing to make sure calls are going to the correct channels.

"This system would eliminate the need to contract with them on an annual basis," Nothstein said. "It will also save the communications center money in the long run."

Commissioner William O'Gurek added that more people are currently using cell phones instead of land lines when making 911 calls. In 2012, Carbon County handled 69,034 emergency calls.

"This is designed to accurately pinpoint where these calls are being made," he said.

He also provided an example where this new service will better help in emergency situations.

"A perfect example of how valuable this is, is if a person gets lost in the game lands and has a cell phone and makes a phone call saying 'I'm lost,' the comm. center can pinpoint to sum degree within close proximity to where the call was made," O'Gurek said.

Work on the installation of the new system; as well as the Watchdog program that monitors calls and provides an alert if there is an error or problem with a call, will begin shortly and is expected to take a year to complete.

"This will give our people more capability and more tools to better handle calls, monitor and dispatch," O'Gurek said.

In other matters, the commissioners addressed or acted on a number of items.

• Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard announced that the Dogs 4 Dawgs event, held in the parking lot of Kovatch Mobile Equipment in Nesquehoning, last week, raised $2,208 for the Carbon County Animal Shelter. The shelter is located along Route 93 on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning.

He thanked John Kovatch, the Kovatch family and corporation, its employees; all the volunteers and elected officials; and everyone who purchased hot dogs during the three-day event, for making it a success.

• The board opened bids for two Community Development Block Grant projects street improvement along Tamaqua Street in Banks Township and street improvement along East Bertsch Street in Lansford.

The apparent low bidder in both projects was Popple Construction Inc. of Laflin, who bid $78,629.25 for the Lansford project; and $75,669.70 for the Banks Township project. All bids received will now be reviewed and a contract will be awarded at the commissioners' Aug. 15 meeting.

• Nothstein updated the board on an item Robert Dages of Jim Thorpe suggested to help alleviate parking on the west side of Broadway in Jim Thorpe. Nothstein explained he went down to look at records in the tax assessment and mapping offices and found that the land Dages said was owned by the county is not owned by the county.

• Nothstein thanked all emergency responders who helped during the search for Dean Christman, who lost his life after he disappeared from his boat on Beltzville Lake last week. Christman's body was recovered Tuesday afternoon, after nine days of combing the waters.

• The board approved the following personnel actions:

Rita J. Serina of Jim Thorpe went from employment separation as head cook, corrections; to retirement, effective Aug. 4.

Joseph M. Kloap of Jim Thorpe resigned as a part-time seasonal park maintenance person, effective July 26; and Katie Mongi of Summit Hill and Alexandrea Mosteller of Jim Thorpe resigned as lifeguards, effective in August.

Matthew J. Mottola of Wayne, Pa., was appointed as law clerk, court administration, effective Aug. 5.

Scott Karaman of Kunkletown, Phillip M. Kakas of Blakeslee, Jarryd C. Ruch of Palmerton, and Quito L. Weiser of Nesquehoning were appointed as part-time corrections officers, effective Aug. 5.

Chelsea N. Michaelsko of Freeland went from part-time dispatcher to 911 operator at the communications center, effective Aug. 19.

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