Dispatch center sees reduced holiday calls

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PARIS – The Regional Communications Center was prepared for the worst over the holiday week, but the worst never came.

Jim Miclon, director of the center, said the center handled about 670 calls on the Fourth of July and the rest of the week, down from last year’s total of about 700.

In 2006, the center handled 589 calls. Miclon had thought that the increase over the years would continue, and that the calls this year might approach 800.

“I was being cautious, but it turned out it was not necessary,” Miclon said Tuesday .

The statistics refer to the dispatch of emergency personnel to an incident, not radio traffic, event announcements, or non-emergency calls.

The dispatch center, which establishes communication between 50 police, fire and emergency medical services, has three dispatchers on hand at all times, with a fourth dispatcher arriving for a shift at 3:30 p.m. During the holiday week, a fourth dispatcher was on hand during the day shift, paid as overtime.

Miclon said Rumford handles its own emergency calls until 4 p.m., when the dispatch center takes over until 8 a.m. He said that system began this month.

Miclon said the dispatch center makes the decision whether to increase personnel during a holiday or special event as the day gets nearer.

“A lot of it depends on the weather,” he said. While ideal conditions lead to more people and activity at an event, inclement weather can drive them away.

Miclon said he had not decided Tuesday if the center would increase its staff for the Oxford Plains TD Banknorth 250 car race scheduled for Saturday.

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