Marathon Co. hires consulting firm to fix dispatch problems
MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -
Volunteer firefighters depend on pagers to let them know
when there's an emergency.
"We do rely on paid, on-call staff and volunteers on the
fire side of our department. So, they may be at home, they may be at work, they
may be out in the community," said Mosinee Fire Chief Josh Klug.
When pagers go off, firefighters sometimes hear garbled
information, and other times, the pagers don't go off at all. This costs them
precious minutes during an emergency.
"If their pager doesn't trip, and they don't get the call,
we're short staffed, and by the time we get down here, we don't know that, and
we have to call for extra people," said Tom Janssen, a volunteer firefighter in
The problem began in September when the county switched from
an analog dispatch system to a combination analog-digital system. The switch
was required by law and cost $9.5 million.
Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger said the county is
now spending $50,000 to research the problems.
"If we have a pattern emerging, that is taken very seriously
because, in fact, these people perform life saving services," said Karger.
Karger said the problems have been concentrated in the
Mosinee and Athens
areas. County officials have hired a consulting firm to try to fix what's
"We want somebody who doesn't have a dog in that fight to
take a look at it for us. If nothing else, to assure us that we've gotten
everything we've paid for," said Karger.
The county has asked fire chiefs to track problems with
pagers in their departments.
The Mosinee Fire Chief said no emergency calls have been
missed, but it's an issue that deserves immediate attention.
County officials said the
consulting firm's recommendations should be ready within 60 days.