March 15, 2002

Lab forms consortium with Alameda to consolidate dispatch services

Capping more than five years of study — including review by an independent consultant — Laboratory Fire Chief Randy Bradley announced this week that the Alameda County Fire Department, Alameda County Emergency Medical Services Agency, Alameda City Fire Department, and the Laboratory will form a consortium to consolidate emergency dispatch services.

"Consolidated dispatch will provide an improved and expanded level of fire and emergency medical services, as well as enhance the county mutual aid system," Bradley said. The center will be both modern and efficient, and focused exclusively on emergency fire and medical services. The consolidation should produce savings annually for all the parties to the agreement."

Bradley explained that these four agencies share similar missions within their jurisdictions.

"They provide fire protection, emergency-medical and other safety-related services within their respective boundaries. The fire departments also participate in the County Mutual Fire Assistance program."

The costs of maintaining and equipping the facility, staffing, insurance and improvements will be apportioned to reflect the individual use of each participant on a cost-per-call basis, based on the total budget of the dispatch center.
The dispatch facility at the Livermore Lab will serve as the Consolidated Dispatch Center for the consortium as recommended by an independent consultant report based on suitability and cost. Additionally, 10 new dispatchers will be hired to work at the facility.

An Emergency Dispatch Consortium Advisory Board, comprised of the fire chiefs of the Alameda County, the City of Alameda, and the Laboratory, along with the Alameda County Emergency Medical Services Agency Director will oversee the function of the consortium. The agreement will be evaluated every two years to assure that the Center continues to meet the needs of the individual members.

Before the dispatch center can become a reality, the existing Lab Fire Dispatch center must be expanded, radio equipment must be upgraded, and telephone emergency-911 switching facilities must be coordinated. "If all goes according to plan, the new center should be dispatching the four participating agencies by May 13." Bradley said.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Alameda City Council formally approved the agreement earlier this year.