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The Douglas County Commission met Monday morning with chiefs of the various fire departments of Douglas County. At that meeting, Presiding Commissioner Larry Pueppke introduced Bill Philpott as EMA director for Douglas County.
The 9 a.m. meeting was held at the Emergency Management training center located in the former White River Electric office building just east of the Sheriff’s Office. Philpott also introduced Billy Long and Richard Sturgeon who will assist him in the EMA office.
A major focus of Monday’s meeting turned to communications, which has long been a critical issued in the county. Even with repeaters, added frequencies, and as much technology as departments can afford, fire departments in the east end of Douglas County have a hard time communicating with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with two-way radios.
Sheriff Chris Degase came over to the meeting to answer questions about dispatching and radio communications, and agreed to work with the fire departments and EMA in establishing the best communications network possible.
Steve Wood, director of EMS services with Cox Ambulance, also talked to the fire chiefs about the need for assistance on emergency calls answered by the ambulance service.
It was said that in the east end of Douglas County, the emergency call may come through another county’s dispatch center, and the responding ambulance may be from West Plains, Willow Springs, or Mtn. Grove. On occasion the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office may not even be aware of the call.
The chiefs agreed to meet again next month to continue this discussion.