The forum, according to Harlan County's E-911 Director Dan Mosley, will offer officials working in the field of emergency services the opportunity to explain the system to residents and will also give residents who have concerns the floor to speak.
"There have been some concerns expressed by individuals within the community that our 911 system is not as good as it could be," Mosley said. "Both the pubic and people who work closely with the 911 system are encouraged to attend so we can address these concerns and make suggestions for solutions."
While Mosley is quick to point out that he feels Harlan County's 911 system is very efficient, he doesn't want the public to feel their concerns fall on deaf ears.
"I'm a firm believer that nothing is perfect," he said. "Although our system works fine, there's always ways to improve things. I think this forum might produce ideas to send us down the path of improvement."
Since he's worked as the county's 911 director, however, Mosley said he's only had three verbal complaints. Nonetheless, the 911 board wants to take each complaint seriously.
"We want to make sure that residents have the best, complete 911 service they can get," he said.
Harlan County Disaster and Emergency Services Director David McGill will be present at the forum to help Mosley explain the 911 system to residents and to field questions and complaints. Other county emergency officials will also be present to help comprise a panel.
McGill said some of the problems with the county's 911 system are due to citizen error with residents not properly displaying their addresses on their houses or providing the wrong information during an emergency situation.
"As a first responder and as a 911 dispatcher, the information that citizens give us is the only information we have to go on," McGill said. "People do not understand what volunteers in the emergency services field go through on a day to day basis. It's not just a 9-to-5 job. It's a seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year job. We also have families and other jobs we have to take care of. I know some residents have got concerns, but, hopefully, this forum will give us the chance to better understand where each of us are coming from."
While he's been 911 director, Mosley said he's discovered that Harlan County has some of the best emergency services workers in the region.
"I truly feel our first responders in this county are the best of the best," Mosley said. "They are the most dedicated and energetic personnel that I have witnessed in southeastern Kentucky."
The 911 forum will start at 6 p.m. on Aug. 27 and will be held in the old circuit courtroom of the Harlan County Courthouse.