A lot of people have been asking me, "Why do we need more 9-1-1 equpiment? Can't you make due with what you have?" I wanted to take some time and answer this question. In short, the answer is a resounding NO. But if you know me, i'll give you a better explanation:
Our radio system, which was purchased in 2003, has been on borrowed time for awhile now. This system, which houses 10 radio frequencies that our dispatchers most commonly use on a day-to-day basis, is no longer manufactured. Meaning there are no parts, no replacements when things break on it, and they do. The average lifespan of this radio is about 5 years, and we are going on to year 8 with it. (To give you tech guys an idea, we had to install Windows 2000 on our Computer-radio interface simply because it could not support a newer operating system) Our radio service technicians have to literally solder circuits back together on broken hardware to fix things. There is a huge chance that radio system could become inoperable, one console at a time, leaving us with nothing but backup radios that let us only listen to a channel at a time.
Our 9-1-1 system is in similar shape. The company which manufactured it has since been bought out, and has not supported the system for some time. While we have been fortunate enough to have located a technician from the previous company that does maintenance work on the system, it is very costly to do diagnostics on it. This system is what we utilize to locate our callers and get information such as phone numbers and subscriber numbers from land-line phones. Depending on cell phone technology it also allows us to locate callers with cellular phones. This system is already running on a backup, and was purchased in 2003 when the center opened as well.
This is not a matter of 9-1-1 trying to "make do" with what they have, it is a matter of replacing the equipment so we can "continue to do" what we do. Without functioning equipment, we can't talk to our EMT's, Firefighters, and Police Officers. We can't get help to you quickly. Without our 9-1-1 system, we can't get your information in a quick manner, we can't receive 9-1-1 phone calls. They would go to Greene County and get rolled back to us, again, delaying help to you when your family member is having a heart attack, or your house is being broken into. We need you to get and vote April 5th. 9-1-1 needs your help!
A lot of people in the public have asked me what it's like to be a 911 dispatcher. Most think my job is to answer phones all day, and I once thought that way too. Oh how wrong I was. A dispatcher must be able to process a great deal of information, listen to callers, enter that into a computer, calm the caller and get help to them. All while answering radios, communicating with their partner, and knowing what else is going on with Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS on other calls. They multitask on a level that could almost put a mother to shame (I said almost, moms!)
I've explained to people that the best way to experience life as a dispatcher is to come down and try it out, we are happy to give tours of our center to groups and curious public. If you are interested use our contact form or call our administrative line and set one up!
Polk County Central Dispatch Webmaster
Welcome to the site! You have found the Dispatch Log, a blog on our site where we hope to be able to answer questions for you about our center, the services we provide, and what you can do to keep your family safe in an emergency. I want to thank you for visiting our site, and keep checking back for future updates, become a fan of us on facebook to stay even more connected. Take a look around, and as always, give us an email should you have any questions, just click on the Contact Us link above, thanks for stopping in!
Polk County Central Dispatch Webmaster