With our local fire departments’ transition to a new dispatch provider, upgrades will be needed for computer-aided dispatch equipment, per Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis. As of July 1, the Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments joined San Bernardino County Fire Departments, including the Fawnskin station, on the ConFire service, as longtime provider Desert Communications went out of business. Chief Willis outlined plans for computer hardware and software upgrades before the Community Services District’s Board of Directors last night (July 20), noting that upgrades would also solve the eight-year problem of inputting EMS and fire reports on two different and incompatible programs. Explaining the one-time set-up cost of $16,500 and an annual reoccurring cost of $5,000 for phone line connections and software support, Chief Willis said, “It makes sense, it’s reasonable, and it will meet our needs for the future.” CSD Directors unanimously approved the use of funds, from the fire department’s reserves, and Willis pointed out that they have, with the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, also applied for grant funding for additional upgrades to radio and computer equipment.
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