Big changes to Richmond Ambulance Authority center

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Ambulance Authority is wrapping up construction on its emergency communication center. There are major upgrades and changes that will have a direct impact on you, everyday.

Now, life or death situations inside the command center are made in a matter of seconds, much faster than with the previous technology.

"Our old system was 11 years old. Our phone system was quickly approaching its death date," says RAA Communication Director Danny Garrison.

So, out with the old and in with the new phones, this time on the computer. There is also a new radio system.

It allows the RAA to communicate directly with Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover dispatchers; this, a first for Richmond.

"To have everyone to be on a common radio frequency allows us communication much more efficiently, much quicker," adds Garrison.

Any potential unforseen problems and patient information can be relayed from unit to unit, instead of back to the local dispatch. It all means your emergencies will be answered quicker.

More than 90 radios were donated to the RAA from the city. That brought the total cost of all this work to about $750,000. That is much lower than the orginial price tag of a little more than $1 million.

There are also all new monitors, with a new mapping system on a movable desk, for the dispatchers.

"We did this to make their workday much more comfortable, giving them the technology to do their job more efficiently," says Garrison.

There are also two new stations where dispatchers can work at to answer more calls.

While all of the new technology is helping, this is only the beginning. More changes are in the works for the coming years, starting in 2013.

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