Lincoln Firefighters hope to better response times with new system

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

Local emergency responders are listening to a new sound.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue recently installed an automated dispatching system.

It’s called station alerting

A computerized voice named Samantha like Apple’s Siri sends out crews at once.

In the past, dispatchers juggled handling the higher priority calls first.

Now, you can get the help you need faster.

"I can dispatch both at the same time and get them all going at the same time, so that no one has to wait,” Lincoln dispatcher Carson Coles said.

The alerts are also displayed on screens around the fire stations.

LFR believes the new system will shave off up to 40 seconds of the call processing time.

There’s also a timer that’s shown aiding firefighters to get out of the door as quickly as possible.

"In both fire and medical emergency response, seconds can literally make a difference in the outcome,” LFR Battalion Chief Eric Jones said.

LFR is still working out some kinks like improving Samantha’s pronunciation of street names, but said it’s worth it.

"It will still be kind of a work in progress, but the benefit is already dramatically visible in terms of response time and performance,” LFR Chief Micheal Despain said.

The new system has been in place since last month.

It was funded by a  more than $600,0000 federal grant.

LFR said the new softer system tones will also help improve the firefighters health by decreasing their heart and blood pressures when they’re responding.