Fire chief: GPS sometimes gives wrong directions

York

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Local first responders are talking about ongoing issues they face when responding to 911 calls. Fire and EMS providers now rely on GPS systems that sometimes take them far from where they need to go.

Fire Chief Jerry Hanson says it’s an issue for East Prospect Fire Company about once a month.

“There was a fire last month on Otter Street, which is literally two miles from here, but the way it came up on mapping, it wanted me to go to Columbia,” Hanson said.

The problem is the mailing addresses people give to 911 dispatchers don’t always match up with the new GPS systems used by nearly all fire companies in York County.

“We have a lot of people here that have Wrightsville mailing addresses,” Hanson said. “In the borough, there are things like Cherry Street. Well, there is a Cherry Street here and a Cherry Street there, and it can get pretty confusing.”

EMS providers say they have the same issues. Like the fire department, they bring on volunteers who don’t know the area well.

“They have no idea what the area is and they depend on that mapping system to get them there,” Hanson said.

“That’s supposed to be the object here, which is to get us to the scene quicker, but if it starts us off in the wrong direction, that’s longer it takes to give people the help that person needs,” he added.

Fire and EMS providers across the county have also been pointing to a disconnect from 911 dispatchers who give them the address of where they need to respond. In August, county officials decided to pay over $700,000 for a consultant to work in the 911 center, and this is one of the problems they said would be improved.

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