New alerting system has benefits for responders, community

PURVIS system benefits first responders as well as the community.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston County Dispatch has a new station alerting system that only alerts those first responders that need to answer the call.

It's a major upgrade that will benefit fire fighters and EMS, but this $3.4 million system also has major benefits for the public.

The PURVIS system is a new and more efficient way to dispatch calls to fire stations across the county.

It all starts at the dispatch center. Those calls are then sent out only to the units that need to respond to the emergency. The system alerts, a ticket is printed and the crew is out the door.

"It's been a great boom to the entire response process," said John Tippett, Deputy Chief of Operations with the Charleston Fire Department. "We have an opportunity to get our calls out faster. We also have experienced better sound quality in the stations, so the crews catch the addresses quicker."

But this new system also comes in handy when there are multiple calls at the same time.

"If your house is on fire and somebody's house is on fire three blocks away or three miles away, then those departments can be alerted at the same time so there is not a delay in getting one on the road before the other, so that has been a huge improvement," said Tippett.

Another improvement is in the amount of time before the call dispatched.

"Station alerting has allowed us to even cut valuable time off of what we were previously doing and it has made us more efficient," said James Lake, director of Charleston County Consolidated 911 Center. "Prior to station alerting, we were dispatching 41 percent of our calls in 60 seconds or less. Immediately upon implementing station alerting we doubled that to about 75-plus percent that are 60 seconds or less. So with that quicker dispatch to the responders that allows them to respond quicker and get on the scene faster."

The bottom line is that this new system will keep the community a little safer by getting crews on the road a little faster. All 72 fire stations in the county have this new system along with the dispatch center and back-up dispatch center.

All the feedback from those using the system has been positive.

"We haven't received anything negative especially from the firefighters perspective. They are getting a clearer message, they are getting it quicker and they are getting more rest in between the calls that they are doing," said Lake. "On our side of the house, we are seeing immediate benefit by dispatching in a quicker manner allowing our dispatchers the time to do other things and help out in other areas, so there have been benefits all round."

Other agencies may have variations of this system, but Charleston County has the only one of this model.

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