New technology helps incident response team keep Elkhart Co. 4-H Fair safe

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) - Fairgoers are enjoying the last few days of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

The incident response team works tirelessly to make sure everyone can feel safe.

16 News Now shows us a new strategy they’re using to respond to emergencies quicker than ever before.

This is the command post just across the parking lot from the fair where the incident response team operates.

For the first time, all 911 calls from the fairgrounds will come here instead of the county dispatch center.

Here’s how it works.

Anyone who dials 911 at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair will have their call answered here, just across from the main entrance.

“It’s like when you order an Uber on your phone, or when you order a pizza and it comes directly to you. We’re using the same technology to determine exactly where your handset is when you dial 911,” said Elkhart City Communications Asst. Dept. Head Adam Amsden.

This year they’ve set up a geo-fence along the boundary of the fairgrounds. Even though you can’t see it, it’s still routing all calls made within its borders to the command post.

This not only helps the incident response team communicate with first responders faster than if it went to the main dispatch center--

“There’s a little bit of a delay in service just because of that relay information, and we’ve kind of taken that out of the loop now because we’re local and here on the grounds,” Amsden said.

--But also, they can also be more specific about where the emergency is on the grounds.

“This fair is so big and there are so many buildings and so many places people could be at, from parking lots, clear out to the midway. With all of our dispatchers here who know where everything is located at, it gives us such a better idea of where people are,” said Elkhart County E.M.S. Medical Director Jason Baily.

Baily says every second counts when responding to an emergency.

“It’s all about getting that response time down so we can get to the patient faster. Because some of these patients, if they’re really sick and they need medical attention right now, the shorter that time the better for us,” he said.

Using advancements in communication technology to keep fairgoers safe.

Amsden say they learned a lot about this technology when using it this year and plan on continuing to use it in the future.

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