Quick Responses, Smart Dispatching

October 20, 2020 by Kate Nadolski

Quick Responses, Smart Dispatching

For first responders, saving time can equate to saving lives in many cases.

The Rockwall Police and Fire Departments in Texas wanted a way to get the closest and most well-equipped units to the scene faster. To do this, the agency upgraded its computer aided dispatch (CAD) and mobile solutions, which allowed them to improve their dispatching capabilities.

Now, dispatchers and first responders in Rockwall can view where all police and fire units are located on a real-time map.

“With the ability to see where everyone is located on a map, it really helps us make a difference in our response times,” Assistant Fire Chief Brett Merritt said. “Now we can dispatch units that are not only the closest unit to an emergency, but we can also see if they are the appropriate unit to send.”

Dispatchers can now check real-time map data and send the closest unit to the emergency. In some cases, dispatchers also identify the most well-equipped unit for a specific incident, depending on the resources or tools the officers or fire crews may have inside their vehicle. This way, the proper critical resources that are needed for specific emergency situations are arriving as quickly as possible.

In addition, crews were getting live GPS location data from their mobile solution in the fire units into CAD. Rockwall Public Safety IT Manager John Bader said this allowed them to transition from location to proximity dispatching.

“This empowered the CAD system to make automatic and immediate fire unit recommendations to dispatchers based not only on GPS location, but also on call type and fire unit capabilities,” said Bader.

Bader adds that the numbers solidify upgrading was the best route for their agency.

“Our dispatch to first en route times were down about 15%, and our dispatch to arrive times were down about 9%,” said Bader. “That’s phenomenal, and we’re happy to be able to offer improved services to the community.”

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