I made my first ambulance call in Cass County in 1965. Fought my first house fire in the county the same year. That said solely to give some background on the issue I am writing about.
From 1965 through the year 2000, I served on several fire departments in this county and all should be proud of the men and women who now volunteer or work full-time on the various departments. Problem was and still is the lack of true fire dispatchers.
Police department dispatchers are put at a disadvantage trying to handle both fire/EMS and police calls. Who do you give priority to when you have emergencies working on both radio channels? There has always been talk about a county-wide fire dispatch center, but, never any true action.
Why am I starting this debate again? Many of the Cass County fire departments are now paying the Lee’s Summit fire department, to dispatch their fire calls. That means our Cass County taxes are supporting a Jackson County fire department and paying salaries to Jackson County residents, not Cass County residents. I do not fault these departments for seeking good professional fire dispatchers, no, the fault lies somewhere in our county. I am not here to point a finger, just say we need to support our local firefighters and EMS by giving them a county-wide fire dispatch center and keeping our tax money in Cass County.