Bella Vista Fire Department To Add New Dispatch System

BELLA VISTA (KFSM) -- The Bella Vista Fire Department will soon see changes to their dispatch system after the city council approved a resolution for the purchase of the first phase.

Scott Larson, a firefighter paramedic for the department, said this first phase will include uninterruptible power and a master control unit.

He explained one of the best things about this new system is the reliability.

Larson explained if something happens to their current system, there is no way they would know without someone looking for it.

This new system will change that and will constantly check to see if the system is up and running.

“It’s nice to have that redundancy and that failover that when a citizen calls us and needs us that we can answer that call no matter what," Larson said. "We’ve got those built in backups that take place for us.”

Another change is the tone that plays when an emergency comes through.

Larson said each of their four stations has a two tone alert sound that plays to signal which stations need to respond.

At night, that tone can be startling.

He continued to say that when he hears that tone, he gets a rush of adrenaline.

Something he said that can be good when in an emergency situation, but could also be harmful if things change.

“You go out the door and you start down the road and then you get canceled en route because it was an alarm malfunction and now I don’t have anything to do with that adrenaline and my heart just keeps pumping," Larson said. "And I can’t work.”

The new system will have "cardiac kind" tones to help prevent these types of reactions.

This is only phase one of the system they hope to receive.

Other additions could include new lights to help firefighters keep their nightvision, new information boards that tell crews where and what the emergency is, and timers to make sure they are getting ready in two minutes.

Fire Chief Stephen Sims said that two minutes is important and every second counts when getting ready to help someone in an emergency situation.

Larson has been doing this for 14 years and said this new system is something he has looked forward to for a long time.

He said they plan to have the first phase up and running by the end of the year.

The other phases of this project still need to be approved by the city council.