High-Tech System Makes New Dakota County 911 Call Center Tick - @ JEMS.com


High-Tech System Makes New Dakota County 911 Call Center Tick


 
 

Frederick Melo | | Thursday, October 25, 2007


ST. PAUL, Minn.-- Imagine a 911 call center without telephones.

At the new Dakota (Minn.) Communications Center, handheld receivers are considered a thing of the past. Teams of dispatchers will sit or stand at adjustable workstations, taking calls through headsets while monitoring six flat-panel touch screens.

For power, each of 23 workstations will have 48 electrical plugs. For smarts, they ll rely on three hard-drive towers, or central processors.

With every 911 call, an electronic map will appear on a screen, instantly revealing the caller s location. And with a few keystrokes, the same information will be relayed to a laptop in a squad car, fire engine or ambulance.

If all of this sounds a tad futuristic, it should. On top of a $7.8 million construction budget, the new center will be equipped with $6.3 million in computer-aided dispatch and communications technology.

There will be an open house and dedication at the dispatch center Saturday. The center, south of Rosemount in Empire Township, will accept its first 911 call Dec. 9.

Kent Therkelsen, the center s executive director and former Eagan police chief, believes the millions in expenses will soon yield savings for Dakota County s growing cities and townships by consolidating their call centers.

The five 911 centers that operate throughout Dakota County will transfer over their operations and shut their doors by the end of the year.

We estimate in the first three years that we ll save an additional $2.4 million in operating expenses, Therkelsen said.

As the new dispatch center makes its debut, police, fire and emergency medical services in Dakota County also will transfer to an 800-megahertz radio network supported by nine transmission towers. The county is programming 1,700 radios for first responders.

Dakota County Commissioner Nancy Schouweiler, representative to the Dakota Communications Center Board of Directors, said, It s worth it because it s much cheaper for us to do this together -- to invest in the new technology, the 800 megahertz -- and only do this once, than to set it up in five different 911 centers.

In a typical year, the dispatch center will receive about 200,000 911 calls and dispatch authorities to more than 400,000 incidents.

And the shared 800-megahertz network will allow instant communication between agencies accustomed to sometimes talking past each other.

In the old days, we walked around at major incidents with two or three radios, Therkelsen said.

Other innovations could be just around the corner.

By next year, GPS locators could be installed in squad cars, fire engines and ambulances to allow dispatchers to instantly determine a vehicle s location on a map or redirect a lost driver.

Frederick Melo can be reached at fmelo@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-2172.

If You Go

What: Dedication and tour of Dakota Communications Center

Where: 2860 160th St. W., Empire Township

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

About The Dispatch Center

The new center will be the 911 answering point for all Dakota County calls.

  • It will receive 200,000 911 calls per year.
  • It will dispatch responders to more than 400,000 police, fire and emergency medical events per year.
  • It will employ 52 dispatchers, 6 supervisors and 6 staff members.
  • It is 25,000 square feet.
  • It cost $7.8 million to build.
  • Its equipment cost $6.3 million.



Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Communications and Dispatch, Technology

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Injured in Philadelphia Collapse

Parapet wall falls through roof of store.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

California Firefighters save Man on Flight

Patient was conscious and talking when United flight landed.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >