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Director gives the 411 on 911
2011 was a busy year for dispatchers
new deh communications fire pic
High winds and persistent drought meant a busy summer for Barton County firefighters, but that also meant a busy summer for the Barton County Communications emergency dispatchers. 2011 was also busy with growth and changes in the department. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles updating Barton County government projects for 2011.)

2011 was a busy year for Barton County Communications, beginning with the arrival of a new department director, and continuing to the initial phases of major remodeling, according to information from Director Doug Hubbard.
Hubbard came on staff at the end of last February, coming to the department “from Claflin and has been involved in emergency services in Barton County since 1974 as a firefighter, EMT/Paramedic and actually worked as a dispatcher in 1993 for a short period.”
And the work for the year was already laid out when Hubbard arrived, he noted in a report he recently presented to the county commission.
“Upon arrival, Hubbard found himself in the middle of an on going infrastructure upgrade which included all new radio repeaters, three new tower sites and an FCC mandated radio re-programming project to ‘narrow band’ all radios in Barton County. 
“Barton County Communications worked with all emergency service departments in the county to assist and coordinate these changes.
“The second major project for 2011 was to replace aging dispatch consoles. 
“As of the end of 2011, the equipment has been ordered and should be in service by late February, 2012.”
Hubbard also added to the department staff during the year, as he “implemented an updated training program for ongoing training of current employees along with new hires. 
“Brittney Glenn, a four-year dispatcher who also works as an EMT and trainer with Ellinwood EMS, was named as training officer. 
“She is in charge of training for the entire department which includes scheduling of classes and presenters, record keeping and an internal quality improvement program.”
In addition to the changes and updates, Hubbard noted it was also a busy year for every-day work.
“During 2011, 911 operators handled an average of 1,400 911 calls, 8,000 administrative calls, dispatched 2,700 calls for service while handling over 100,000 radio transmissions each month. 
“911 personnel were heavily involved in the April Tornado Drill held in northwest Great Bend, were part of the USD 428 year end Safety Day at Veterans Park and dispatched from the Mobile Command Vehicle at the Barton County Fair.”
This year looks to be busy, too, Hubbard commented. “2012 goals for 911 include completion of the console replacement project, continued emphasis on training, consistency in dispatching calls and updating the Mobile Command Vehicle so it can be a viable tool for use in emergency services in and around Barton County,” the director reported.