National Public Safety Telecommunications Week is being observed April 11-17, and Highland County 9-1-1 Coordinator Sgt. Scott Miller briefed the Highland County commissioners Wednesday on the progress his office had made since he was appointed to the position in 2017.
“The first task we had was to meet the Ohio 9-1-1 Office PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) Rules,” Miller told commissioners David Daniels, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton. “That was a big task to accomplish in the short time it was handed to me, and the biggest thing they wanted was for us to be ready to do emergency medical dispatching, which is basically practicing medicine on the telephone.”
He outlined the intensive training his team of dispatchers had to undergo for certification, which he said enabled dispatchers to make first responders fully aware of the situation they were being deployed to.
“When we get a 9-1-1 call, we ask five or six questions, and then we get the life squad dispatched,” Miller said. “Then we go back to further questioning of the caller on the patient’s condition.”
He said dispatchers were trained to offer medical advice over the phone, which included the administering of Narcan for drug overdoses, nitroglycerine for chest pains, CPR instructions or guiding a caregiver through childbirth.
“Highland County was chosen to be one of the first inspected by the state,” he said, “We submit statistics, certificates and training records of dispatchers to the state, and we’ve done that for three years and we’ve been 100 percent compliant each year.”
Miller credited sheriff Donnie Barrera for his leadership, the commissioners for their assistance in acquiring the new technology and the competence of the 10 dispatchers who serve on the front line along with first responders.
“Communications have really changed from when I started,” Barrera said. “When I came on-board, they just put you behind a desk and told you to answer the phone, but now there is extensive training involved for 9-1-1 calls, and we’ve got a great group of dispatchers that really go above and beyond their duties.”
In other matters, it was announced that business owners who have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic can obtain a low interest business sustainability loan from the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission. Daniels said business owners having cash flow issues should contact the OVRDC directly and not the commissioners’ office.
Britton said the organization had working capital loans from $5,000 to $25,000 that businesses could use for day-to-day operating expenses.
According to the OVRDC, the business sustainability loan program offers interest rates as low as 2 percent for a term of three to five years, along with a $100 application fee and no bank required, and that businesses would pay nothing for the first six months of the loan.
Eligible borrowers include existing small businesses or sole proprietorships, and the OVRDC said they must be located in Highland, Adams, Brown, Clermont, Fayette, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto or Vinton counties.
Businesses can apply online at ovrdc.org, or contact the organization at 800-223-7491 for more information.
Also Wednesday, four resolutions were approved, with three being line item budget transfers and the other an agreement to vacate an alley in Samantha.
A contract was approved with Greystone Systems for camera replacement for the closed circuit television system at the Highland County Courthouse. Britton said the $15,750 contract would take care of all of the cameras, along with a standard commercial security and maintenance agreement.
Commissioners also signed a letter of support for the Youth Leadership Application for the Cave Lake Center for Community Leadership.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.