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((October 18, 2018))

The critical communication system that links the 911 Center to Omaha fire stations is now operational.

Voters approved the Douglas County Public Safety Bond issue in 2016, which included funding for a station alerting system upgrade.

“The public safety bond issue is an example of how city and county government should work together,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “The taxpayers we all serve, and the firefighters who protect our community, all benefit.”  

Several years ago, Mayor Stothert prioritized replacement of station alerting, budgeting $1.7 million to purchase and install the new system. Douglas County also included station alerting in its bond issue.

After voters approved the bond, the city council then approved the $2.5 million purchase; $2 million was paid with the bonds; the city paid the additional $465,000.

Thursday, Fire Chief Dan Olsen demonstrated the alerting system at Station 21 at 34th and Ames.  The system is IP-based and designed to be flexible and modular allowing for future upgrades.  The technology is expected to provide benefits to first responders, 911 dispatchers, and citizens.

The equipment has features that benefit first responders directly including heart saver tones, video status boards, colored lighting boards, speakers with indicating lights, garage door indicators, and much more. The system is designed to enhance county dispatcher’s ability to process and ultimately broadcast emergency calls.

“We are continually upgrading our emergency response equipment, communications, and training to ensure the safety of our citizens and our first responders. In every emergency, firefighters need the best tools possible to provide emergency care,” said Mayor Stothert. 

In the last five years, the City has replaced nine medic units, 13 fire trucks and seven battalion chief vehicles. 

The first bariatric medic unit is now in service and stretchers with automated lifts are being purchased for every ambulance.

Other new equipment includes:

  • Thermal imaging cameras
  • Jaws of Life
  • 493 portable radios.
  • The first foam trailer to extinguish ethanol fires
  • Extractor washing machines
  • Personal protective equipment for firefighters

A variety of funding sources including public safety bonds, public facilities bonds and grant dollars is used to pay for new equipment.

“These are all important improvements to provide excellent emergency services,” said Mayor Stothert.

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