Tampa Rescue Service restores control system after two days of failure

TAMPA, FL (FloridaToday.news) — The Tampa Lifeguards are back online after a faulty dispatch server was out of service for two days.

Fire Chief Barbara Tripp confirmed that the automated control room (CAD) had experienced a server hardware failure. In the meantime, the agency had to revert to a manual dispatch system.

Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems are used by dispatchers and emergency operators to prioritize and record incident calls, determine the status and location of rescuers in the field, and guide rescuers efficiently.

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When a CAD failure occurs, operators switch to a manual system that helps them determine which fire brigade or ambulance is assigned to an emergency call.

However, the automated dispatching system does this automatically.

Nick Stocco, president of the Tampa Firefighters Union, expressed concern about the CAD failure.

He worries about the consequences of a deficient dispatch system and that it will put first responders and callers through longer response times.

“Everything is done with pen, paper and a landline phone,” said Nick Stocco, president of Tampa Local Fire Department 754. “So, as you can imagine, the dispatch center is probably completely overwhelmed by the number of calls right now. On average, we call every six minutes.”

Over the past six months, several Tampa residents have been vocal about their complaints about the long wait for an emergency response.

In January, Tripp appeared before the Tampa City Council to address the lack of resources in the fast-growing city.

In March, a new ambulance was added to Station 19 in South Tampa.

However, concerns about long response times are again heightened amid the CAD glitch.

“I was not informed of any major incidents that took place,” Tripp said. “Service to the community has not stopped and we don’t want to disturb the community because we are still providing 911 service.”

The Tampa Fire Rescue Service has been scrutinized in the past for delays in response times, but Tripp said the department is now up to state standards.

“In 90 percent of the cases, we have to answer 90 percent of the calls within a certain amount of time, and that time is 8 and a half minutes,” Tripp said. “There are certain areas that require additional time. It can be because of traffic jams, because of roads, because there is construction going on and you have to make detours.”

Tampa Fire Rescue responds to approximately 91,000 calls per year, of which about 80,000 are medical.

Tripp said a dozen ambulances will be added to the fleet over the next year.

“There are some areas where response time requires additional time, and we are trying to reduce this time with additional resources,” Tripp said.

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