Colocation: Mifflin fire, EMS admins under one roof

Gahanna police, MECC dispatchers to follow

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Greg Sewell with KC Coatings paints the walls inside a conference room at the Mifflin Township operations building May 25 in Gahanna. Mifflin Township Division of Fire and EMS administrative offices have relocated to the building, 400 W. Johnstown Road.

Mifflin Township Division of Fire and EMS administrative offices have relocated to 400 W. Johnstown Road, and the Gahanna Division of Police communications center and Metropolitan Emergency Communications Center will follow.

Fire Chief Frederick Kauser said the move is a positive step in the evolution of the fire division.

“For the first time in the history of the township's fire and EMS services, we are located in permanent administrative offices,” he said. “Our entire team is now operating under one roof. The professional facility allows us to interact with our citizens, other public agencies, conduct meetings and staff training.”

Mifflin Township announced in May 2019 that it would put its fire-department administration under one roof by buying the operations center of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 101 S. Stygler Road in Gahanna, for $5 million.

Melissa Rapp, township public-information officer, said about 20 fire and township personnel moved into the building in early April.

Rapp said the library had been using the building’s address as 101 S. Stygler Road; however, the city changed the address upon the township’s request.

“It was determined that it was better to direct folks to enter the building parking lot from the Johnstown Road drive,” she said. “There's less traffic; it's a wider road and less confusing when searching the address. It also takes into concern any future modifications which may take place at the (U.S.) Route 62-and-Stygler Road intersection."

The vacated township building is now the Mifflin Township Service Department at 155 Olde Ridenour Road.

Kauser said the new offices on West Johnstown are colocated with the township board of trustees and township administration, allowing for even greater efficiencies.  

This area is the future dispatch center inside the West Johnstown Road building, as shown May 25.

Communications center

Gahanna Division of Police Chief Jeff Spence said Mayor Laurie Jadwin and City Council paved the way for the city police division's communications center to colocate with the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Center at 400 W. Johnstown Road.

The city will be responsible for costs associated with maintenance, janitorial services and utilities, but there will be no “lease” or “rent” costs, said Carrin Wester, city communications manager.

She said the agencies will share in technology, infrastructure and staffing to reduce overall operational costs for both the city and township.

Currently, the MECC is on Mill Street in the Creekside District and handles fire and EMS calls only. It serves as a secondary call center and does not service any law-enforcement agency, Spence said.

The MECC is run by a regional council of governments that involves the townships of Jefferson, Mifflin, Plain, Truro and Violet and the city of Whitehall, Rapp said.

Gahanna's police division has its own call center, Spence said. He said both will move to the West Johnstown Road facility, according to Spence.

Gahanna’s communications center is one of six wireless 911 public-safety answering points in Franklin County, he said. Spence said the other five are Columbus, Franklin County, Grove City, the Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center (Dublin) and Westerville.

Three 911 systems (the technology call centers use to handle 911 calls) are in operation in Franklin County – Columbus/Franklin County, the NRECC and the MECC.   

“The opportunity to colocate these centers will enhance the delivery of emergency communications services for first responders and our residents,” Spence said.

He said partnerships with other area agencies through a regional council of Governments, which has operated successfully for 15 years, provides a cost-efficient solution to delivering high-quality dispatching for emergency services in the community.  

“Phase 2 construction continues at the operations building with the dispatching center, adjacent office space, including 12 offices, locker room and showers for 24-hour staff and common spaces such as conference room and meeting spaces,” Spence said.

He said 12 dispatchers from Gahanna’s agency will move to the new center from the police department’s building at 460 Rocky Fork Blvd., with its opening dependent on several vendors completing needed components, such as the installation of a 911 system. 

“Operations at the new center will begin once all technology is fully operational and tested,” Spence said.

Mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

Mifflin Township Division of Fire and EMS administrative offices have relocated to 400 W. Johnstown Road in Gahanna.