Voice from the future brings dulcet dispatch to Station 52

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Metro firefighters have been hearing a voice from the future for the past week and they say it’s saving them up to 20 seconds in getting out the door on emergency calls.

That voice is being generated as part of a computer upgrade sending automated voice dispatch instructions.

It sounds as if Siri or Alexa sneaked into the system but this voice goes by the name Samantha – a voice calmly alerting firefighters and medics to emergencies. Samantha has been on the job at Station 52 since last Friday.

Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said, “This is the only station in Omaha now where it’s up and running.”

That's going to change. The computer voice system is being rolled out slowly - mostly to catch any mistakes. One problem has already been corrected. The system used an abbreviation for Circle that Samantha pronounced as ‘Sir.’

The alerts can go to specific sleeping rooms at the firehouse to wake up only necessary personnel based on whether it's a fire or medical call.

It works like this: when a call comes in to 911, a real person still answers, getting details about the emergency and where rescue crews should be sent.

Fitzpatrick said, "They can type in info and hit send and it comes to the firefighters right away while they're still on the phone getting additional information."

That's where the 20 second response spike comes in. Firefighters are getting out the door faster. It's a technological upgrade in a system where seconds count.

The upgrades were needed to replace an old system. They’re paid for with bonds from 2016.

Stations 23 and 63 will be live with the sounds of Samantha by the end of the week.