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- Central Oregonian - News
>Kelly and Melissa Case recently took over ownership of Prineville Rentals and Prineville LandscapingKelly Case might depend on rolling wheels (his wheelchair) to get around, but he can do whatever needs to be done, and he has what it takes to be successful in business and in life. He doesn’t give up.
Kelly and his wife Mellisa Case have very recently taken on not just one, but two new businesses in town, purchasing Prineville Rentals and Prineville Landscaping Materials from their previous owner, Tim Carter.
Kelly has worked for Les Schwab for 22 years; his wife is branch manager for Columbia State Bank in Redmond. Case left Les Schwab because he wanted to try other things, but did not want to go anywhere else but Prineville. It took some time to find the right place, but since he has, he loves it.
Case said, “I definitely have no intentions of getting rid of any employees. Our community is so unique in that way, it …really sticks together and does that very, very well. And so while I would love to employ some more people, I definitely do not want to put anybody out of work here.”
“I am going to do some reorganization, some marketing things.” Case said. “My background is in retail, so I plan to build some displays and things like that, but as for the current business, I don’t plan any changes right away.”
Case plans business as usual. “This is a great little business and conveniently located. I just want to stay in our community and I have wanted a business where I can employ people and keep some business here in Prineville,” Case explained. “We’ve got some great people who work here and really know their stuff, so no sense messing with something that isn’t broken. This is going to be fun.”
“I love being outdoors,” Case said. “I was white once, …now I’ve got a tan and I feel good, I’m outside doing stuff all day long. I enjoy doing things with my people who are involved in the 9-1-1 community are looking at.”
He said it is called virtual consolidation. They keep all three centers open, but essentially manage it as one organization.
“There are a lot of efficiencies to be gained doing it that way,” noted Bush. “There are cost savings for some, and not so much cost savings for others.”
He said that this is because some entities are in better financial health than others. He said that Crook County has the potential to save money, and it would give them the coverage that is needed. Currently, the majority of the time, the dispatch center is fine in regards to staffing.
He gave the example of a 9-1-1 call that involved a large fire, and one dispatcher was on duty.
“That person was responsible for taking all the 9-1-1 calls and handling all the radio traffic by themselves. It was clearly an impossible situation.”
He said another dispatcher was there to help within several minutes, but he said a lot can happen in those few minutes. He added that there is one dispatcher on duty the majority of the time.
“You can go from zero to 100 miles per hour in a 9-1-1 center in the flip of a switch,” remarked Bush. “One large car crash, one out-of-control fire, or one significant safety event, and the dispatcher who is going from literally doing nothing can be instantly overwhelmed.”
He said they try to balance their staff to prepare for those situations, by mitigating their ability to provide good public safety communications to the public and to the first responders.
In the discussion about 9-1-1 emergencies, Bush illustrated the fact that police officers also respond to emergencies that involve CPR, for example. Bush said that almost any officer who has been in law enforcement more than a couple of years has probably responded to a cardiac arrest. This is just one group of first responders, and does not include paramedics. It is also just one kind of emergency, which also lends itself to the gravity of seriousness that 9-1-1 plays in public safety.
“The 9-1-1 community is approaching the politics at the state level,” said Bush. “They are looking at it two different ways. One strategy is, ‘do we actually go to the Legislature to plan to fix what is wrong with 91-1- at the state level?’ That would require a substantial amount of legislation that may be challenging and controversial.”
He said the other action is to keep it simple, and give the Governor one clean bill that he could put his name on and would have the best chance for success. He said that this extends the sunset and provides a status quo, but it also means that the 9-1-1 community continues to “kick the can down the road.”
“The 9-1-1 center is key to when someone has an emergency,” commented Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley. “That is how you get law enforcement, ambulance, or fire. That is the initial start for calling for help. I have seen times over the years when there was one dispatcher on. I have been standing there when multiple 9-1-1 calls come in.”
He said that when someone calls for 9-1-1, they expect someone to answer and stay on the phone with them.
“If you have two or three 91-1- calls coming in, that dispatcher has to prioritize.”
He added that it may be several people calling in for the same incident, but all calls have to be answered.
Hensley said that the 9-1-1 dispatch center is important, and they need to fund it to where the dispatchers can answer calls like they should. He said that the model that the local dispatch is looking at by consolidating with Jefferson County and tri-com makes sense.
“It’s a cost savings for everybody.”
He said that each community has their own major events, and other dispatch centers can help cover those gaps.
Bush emphasized that there is currently not a timeline on the consolidation effort with Jefferson County and tri-com.
“There is a lot of work to be done on determining what kind of infrastructure work is still yet to be done, and to bring the technology to fruition,” said Bush.
He said that they have to get a commitment from their partners before they are willing to move forward and invest time and money.