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Who You Gonna Call?
... You smell smoke,
... Your partner has chest pains, or
... You see an apparent theft in progress.                                          

The answer is not as obvious as 9-1-1. 

By direct-dialing local dispatch, for example --

instead of 911 -- you can expect faster dispatch

of first responders in many cases.*

How come?  Each 911 call now gets answered by someone who,

in turn, dials our Police Dept's Dispatch function and waits for an answer. 


As a local Dispatcher picks up and obtains your info, he or she deploys

appropriate Emergency Responders to your location.

Clock is Ticking!

The 2-stage process -- 1) 911 to Dispatch, then 2) Dispatch to Responders -- takes time.

🚨  This 2-stage call-transfer process is typical but not necessary. 🚨

When seconds count, why wait for help to be deployed?

You Have Options!

Decrease Dispatch Delays

Just as emergency personnel use horns, sirens, and flashing lights to minimize response times when someone is injured, a fire is raging, etc. ...

We also have ways to minimize current delays in dispatching emergency personnel.


To reduce dispatch delays, voters / taxpayers should understand our options:

  • Current Options

    • 911 -- 2-stage response

    • Local Dispatch -- 1-stage response

  • Proposed Additional Options

    • Regional Dispatch -- 2-stage response

    • Regional Dispatch as 911 hub / PSAP -- 1-stage response

  • What are pros and cons of each option?

  • What are the costs involved? 

  • What angles might the press and public servants have missed?

This website was created to assist our conversation as a community about this critical issue, by providing a simple overview of dispatch delays and how to remedy them, as well as introducing the concept of Regional Dispatch as discussed in Chittenden County during 2016-18.  Your feedback is welcome.

*Disclaimer: Every situation is different.  (For example, in Shelburne only, many 911 calls are answered and dispatched through their 911 hub, known as a PSAP.  No other CC town has a PSAP.) 

The advice provided here is generally applicable. Your situation may vary.

Use your best judgment according to your unique circumstances.

Thank You for Stopping By...

Please visit the following pages for more info:

Check out these pages:

The last frontier of EMS ... Dispatch.
It's not a matter of fixing a bad system in most cases (but) to make good dispatch systems even better.
That is the challenge!
  -- Jim Page, 
the father of modern EMS 

JANUARY 24, 2018

Just-passed deadline to warn a vote to join Regional Dispatch effort. Seven towns have done so.  (The Essex Selectboard chose on Dec. 18 to not warn a vote.)


MARCH 6, 2018

Citizens may vote at the polls to Regionalize Dispatch, or not -- that is, to add the Proposed Options (see box on the left) to the Current Options -- in Burlington, Colchester, Milton, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston, or Winooski.

APR - JUNE, 2018

Hire employees, configure test systems with a July 1 start date for at least one member town. Tweak financing model and prepare for fall funding votes.


Hire Regional Dispatch director, begin operations.


MARCH 6, 2018

Gail Callahan's VT Digger article: "Shelburne alone in rejecting regional dispatch center"

DECEMBER 18, 2017

Jess Aloe's BFP article: "Burlington adds regional dispatch ... to March ballot"

MARCH 30, 2017

Elizabeth Murray's BFP article: "Burlington, Essex, others consider regionalizing dispatch"

Could this happen here?
If dispatchers aren't adequately trained to provide pre-arrival medical instructions, unintended outcomes may result: "How Rhode Island’s Emergency 911 System Failed Baby Alijah".
What is EMS?
EMS is the acronym for Emergency Medical Services, the treatment and transport of people in crisis health situations that may be life threatening.
Emergency medical support is applied in a wide variety of situations from car accidents to drownings to incidents of heart attack. (from
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