Ocean City to upgrade fire dispatch system

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Ocean City to upgrade fire dispatch systems Ocean City to upgrade fire dispatch systems

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Fire Department is moving into the 21st century with a new electronic dispatch system approved by City Council at its Dec. 30 meeting at the Ocean City Library.

Council awarded a $31,806 contract to CODY Computer Services, Inc. of Pottstown, Pa. for the upgrade, integration, maintenance, repair and service of the city’s central dispatch system for fire and rescue services. In addition, council authorized a shared services agreement with Upper Township for public safety answering and dispatch services, and associated computer-aided dispatch service.

Councilman Pete Guinosso requested more information about the contracts. City administrator Mike Dattilo said that this is an initiative to upgrade the dispatch technologies and protocols within the fire department, and also includes Upper Township. He said it represents a “fairly significant modernization of how we do things.”

Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Breunig said this system will be a major improvement for the city.

“First and foremost, it’s a priority for us to upgrade our system and get into the technology field. It would benefit our department, our response, our ability to respond with the closest units, ability to preplan, and gather information and data about where we’re going to,” Breunig said.

He said that the department was looking to spend about $30,000 on the system, but he has entered into talks with Upper Township to share that cost.

“If Upper Township does come on, they’re going to pick up two-thirds of that cost, approximately $18,000 of the initial start-up cost,” Breunig said.

He said the expectation that they would agree to the cost-share is “fairly high,” but it was difficult to settle it all quickly before the Dec. 30 meeting.

Currently, all data from calls to the fire department’s dispatch are recorded and stored in a three-ring binder in the fire trucks.

According to a memo from Breunig to council regarding the contract, the Ocean City Fire Department responds to 5,000 calls annually. These responses generate 30,000 radio transmissions to the fire department dispatch center.

“This new software will allow the fire personnel to electronically record their call status and alleviate the burden of dispatchers having to acknowledge and record all 30,000 entries,” Breunig wrote.

He said that in an emergency, the responding firefighters will be able to access data about the location of the fire, including the nearest fire hydrant and where the fire apparatus should be placed.

According to the proposal from CODY, the cost of the software is $27,335 and the fee for the annual licensed software support services is $4,471.

Ocean City has provided fire and medical dispatch services for Upper Township for the last 15 years.

For the first two years of the new, five-year agreement with Upper Township for Ocean City to provide emergency radio and telephone dispatch services for the fire, medical emergency and rescue services occurring in Upper Township, the city will receive $222,789. In 2016, Upper Township agrees to pay $227,245; $231,790 in 2017; and $236,425 in 2018.

Dattilo said the flat amounts for the first two years of the contract are in recognition of the fact that Upper Township has undertaken certain equipment upgrades on their end for the dispatch.

The yearly increases thereafter are in 2-percent increments.

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