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Bayfield, Douglas counties work to cooperate in emergencies

Douglas and Bayfield counties reached an agreement to work together on emergency communications.

The Douglas County Board on Thursday approved a memorandum of understanding for collaboration on emergency 911 communications.

The measure provides backup if the 911 system goes down in either county as personnel in the still-functioning call center field calls for both centers.

The collaboration involves sharing equipment in each county’s communications centers and provides backup for one another in the event the system goes down in the other county.

Emergency 911 data from either center will be available to dispatchers in both counties.

The agreement last five years once the equipment is installed in Bayfield County. The agreement can be extended or terminated by mutual agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, each county is responsible for maintaining, updating and insuring its own equipment, but Douglas County will provide Bayfield County with one of two geo-diverse modules already purchased by Douglas County, which retains ownership. Bayfield County will pay the cost to relocate the equipment to its emergency call center.

An oversight group will oversee new equipment, software or other decisions with a financial impact. Maintenance costs will be shared and people in each county have been designated to address emergency repairs to the system.

While the goal is to expand the 911 system to include other counties, any new partners in the system would have to be approved by both counties. 

The Bayfield County Board approved the memorandum June 9.