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Santa Barbara County looking at change in how some 911 calls are handled

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash
Santa Barbara County is looking at setting up a regional dipatch center for emergency fire and ambulance calls.

Regional dispatch center may handle fire, and ambulance calls countywide.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors are set to look at a plan to change how a lot of 911 calls in the county are handled.

The county’s Fire District is developing a proposal to consolidate fire, and ambulance service dispatching countywide. A proposed new $11 million regional facility would handle 911 calls for the county fire department, as well as for all of the county’s municipal fire departments, and fire protection districts.

The agencies would share the estimated $4.9 million operational cost of the center, with some of the money also coming from revenue from ambulance dispatch services.

If the county pursues the plan, it would separate the county fire department, and ambulance dispatch services from Sheriff’s Office dispatch services. The proposal also calls for adding a backup dispatch center at the Santa Maria Police Department headquarters.

County Supervisors will look at the effort when they meet Tuesday.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.