Monday, June 15, 2015



Going back to May, 2008, The Stark County Political Report has been Stark County's most reliable and prolific source of information on the condition of Stark's 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatch system.

Back in those days, a special commission put together by various interested parties to audit Stark's system came back with a voluminous report saying that Stark's emergency services communication network was broken.
(chiefly, former Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley, a Democrat) jumped on the report as a reason why Stark Countians should accept having a 1/2 cent sales tax imposed on us.

Fellow Democrat (and, this year a candidate for Canton city councilman-at-large) Tom Harmon and Republican Jane Vignos joined in.

But fixing the broken emergency services was only part of the reason for the tax.

A less publicized reason (if referred to at all) was the county's desperate needed for general fund monies.

As politicians are wont to do, the fear factor that you and I would not receive life-saving fire, ambulance or perhaps (but to a much lesser degree) police services was invoked as justification for "imposing" the sales tax in December, 2008.

Millions were collected for the general fund deficiency and for fixing the broken 9-1-1 system before voters stepped-in on the initiative of civic activists in the November, 2009 election to rescind the tax.

Only with the election of Republican Janet Creighton and then-Democrat Thomas Bernabei as Stark County commissioners in November, 2010, did Stark County did Stark County have leadership in place which had the ability to set the politics aside to ensure that what money the December, 2008 imposed tax generated for a 9-1-1 fix would be accomplished in a non-political way.

To fully appreciate a more detailed accounting for the political maneuvering that came into play with spending the influx of taxpayer money to be applied fixing the broken 9-1-1, readers ought to read Part 1 of this series which began on June 1, 2015.

Although the SCPR questions whether or not the current set of commissioners got the most bang for the buck in purchasing a new Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD) system last year, the Creighton and Bernabei led board seems to have take much of the politics out of how the process of fixing 9-1-1.

Earlier this year The Stark County Political Report happened upon an article published in USA Today that focused on a problem across American in which calls for emergency assistance from cellphones did not provide location data and therefore hampered if not obliterated the ability of local emergency responders to make timely (i.e. in time to save a life) responses to the frantic calls of mobile callers.

Readers of this blog:
  • in order to grasp the significance of "location data," and 
    • to get a full appreciation of the critical importance of same to each and everyone of us in terms of being located
    • in order to receive emergency medical care in the event of a:
      • heart attack,
      • stroke,
      • automobile accident injury,
        • and the like
absolutely need to read the USA Today article cited above.

Here is a LINK to that USA Today baseline article.

Please take about five (5) minutes or so to read this article so that you can appreciate fully the answers to SCPR "on camera" questions by Director Warstler and his highly able staff.

Your life could depend on your doing so!

In Part 1 of this series, the SCPR began unfolding segments of a one hour or so vide eo interview with Stark's Emergency Management director Tim Warstler on the primary question of how Stark County stacks up with the rest of America in county's ability to know the locale of cellphone callers for ambulance, fire and police services.

Parts of the nation only have a 10% success rate providing the critically need location data to emergency call receivers.

In Part 1, we got to know Emergency Services Agency director Tim Wartstler.

Today, in Part 2, we get more into the nitty-gritty of the status of Stark call receiving capability in terms of EMA personnel obtaining pin point location information from cellphone callers.

In the foregoing video segment, Director Warstler reveals for Stark County that:

  • the emergency calls which are the most troublesome in terms of 9-1-1 knowing where the caller is located are VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) call ins.
    • Note:  VOIP calls account for about 7% of all 9-1-1 calls and it appears that one calling via VOIP has he greatest chance of emergency responders not being able to find him/her.
  • the most reliable calls, in terms of where the caller is located, of course, are landline calls, which, unfortunately only account for 13% (so far this year) received by Stark's 9-1-1's emergency call receiving unit,
  • percentage wise, cellphone calls (which account for 80% of all emergency calls in Stark County) provide good caller location data 66% of the time.  So 34 callers out of 100 Stark County cellphone callers run the risk - so far this year - that emergency responders will not be able to locate the emergency situs in a timely fashion,
Warstler was unable to say whether the problem is with EMA utilized software or lies with AT&T.

The foregoing data is the best that Warstler and is team of emergency call receivers can provide at this time.

Ohio is working on improving data collection so that Ohioans/Stark Countians can know more precisely the reliability of technology in place within the county and state in terms of providing accurate and precise location data.

In upcoming Part 3 in coming days, Director Warstler and the SCPR discuss a Stark County location incident problem and also the likelihood that Stark County could experience a problem like that which occurred in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

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