In the world of public safety, dispatchers play a pivotal role in emergency responses. Severe weather, fire emergencies, and criminal acts all require first responders to get on the scene as quickly and safely as possible. To get them there, dispatchers need computer aided dispatch (CAD) tools.
Explore these feature stories to read about how agencies from across the United States help create safer communities when responding to calls for service.
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Every year, the Great Plains region of the US experiences severe thunderstorms throughout the summer months.
The summer of 2017 was no different for Independence, Missouri.
In mid-July, heavy storms hit this Kansas City metro area town causing damage to vehicles, homes, and businesses. High winds of more than 85 mph also caused downed trees and power lines, which led to power outages for several residents.
In addition, the rain and hail accompanying these storms resulted in flash flooding as it dumped more than three inches onto the town. Numerous roadways were impassable due to the trees and flooding, which caused routing issues for motorists and first responders.
In this type of situation, dispatchers and first responders are tasked with routing emergency personnel to those in need, which can be difficult when roads are impassable.
During that storm, the local 9-1-1 dispatch center in Independence fielded such a high call volume that they were running a modified response on emergency calls.
According to Independence Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Cindy Culp, a modified response helps ensure an effective level of coverage continues throughout the community despite emergency conditions that could absorb numerous resources.
"Any time the big storms hit, we're out there with police responding to weather-related calls for service and your every-day emergencies," Culp said. "It's important for dispatch to make sure there's enough coverage throughout the city to account for any emergency situation that arises as well as for of the events attributed to weather activity."
While the modified response prevented the city from running out of first responders to meet the needs of the community, first responders also had to deal with how to get to those in need.
"We had to be re-routed to several calls for service due to the condition of the roads," Culp said. "Dispatch helped with routing us to these incidents so that we could get help to where it was needed most."
Like many emergency responses, communication with other agencies and departments played a large role in effectively meeting the needs of the community during the storm.
According to Joanna Whitt, Records Administrator for the Independence Police Dept., the police and fire departments work together quite often in emergencies.
"In critical situations, we work closely with the fire department," Whitt said. "Anytime the police and fire departments are on the scene together, we share information with each other that pertains to safety for first responders and the public."
Source: Charleston Gazette-MailBy Giuseppe Sabella
A Kanawha County sheriff’s deputy used three letters to describe her dangerous foot pursuit: AVL.
The automatic vehicle locator tracks first responders from more than 50 agencies throughout the county, and it may have saved Cpl. Stephanie Adams’ life.
Metro 911 officials said the upgrade launched in September and has since helped law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters and county residents.
Read the full story …
This article is part five of a six-part series on Next Generation 911.
Part one | Part two | Part three | Part four | Part five | Part six
There are numerous reasons why the United States needs text-to-911 capabilities.
To start with, text telephone (TTY) services are being phased out. This is the service that helps the deaf and hard of hearing communicate now via phone to 9-1-1 emergency services. There are 36 million people in the country that use TTY services now, and they are going to need a new way to talk to 9-1-1. Text-to-911 is what they will use.
Another reason for text-to-911 is because there are times when help is needed, but making a phone call to 9-1-1 is not possible. For instance, if an individual feels threatened and thinks being overheard calling 9-1-1 would be dangerous, that person could send a text for help.
Text-to-911 isn’t just for when you can’t call, but for when you don’t feel comfortable calling.
Imagine riding with a drunk driver in a vehicle. Calling 9-1-1 could pose a risk for the individual who may not want to let the driver know that he or she is making a call for help. However, being able to reach out for help in some fashion helps keep people safe.
Domestic abuse situations highlight another scenario in which the person involved might be uncomfortable being overheard or might even endanger themselves if overheard talking to a 9-1-1 call taker.
Having text as an option makes that hesitancy go away and ensures the correct response will be dispatched to the situation.
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