Our Pick for the Top Ten 911 Call Centers in the US for 2015
Every man, woman and child in the United States and Canada will dial 911 at least twice in their lifetime on average. Whether faced with a large-scale emergency situation in the wake of a natural disaster or simply reporting a property crime, the only thing that connects people to the emergency fire, police and EMS assistance they need are the dedicated 911 dispatchers working in emergency call centers across the nation.
The nation’s 911 dispatchers work tirelessly behind the scenes to form the critical link that America’s emergency response networks rely on to ensure assistance is always there when we need it. Here at 911DispatcherEDU.org, we wanted to recognize the exceptional work these emergency dispatch centers do to keep us safe.
Selecting from the countless emergency dispatch centers that help save lives and protect property every day proved to be a challenge for us since we have tremendous respect for the work being done at all the public safety answering points nationwide. Looking at factors like national awards, individual dispatcher recognition and outstanding performance in the midst of large-scale emergencies, the editorial staff here at 911DispatcherEDU.org put together this list of centers we felt went above and beyond to provide outstanding service.
Robert Martin, executive director of the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch once referred to Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) operating in southwest Washington as one of the best emergency dispatch centers in the nation. CRESA serves all of Clark County (including Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, Yacolt) as well as the city of Woodland in Cowlitz County. CRESA is also the location of the Region IV Homeland Security Office, which coordinates Homeland Security efforts within Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum Counties.
CRESA was among the first emergency communication centers to be accredited by the Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch back in 1993. More recently, in 2013 CRESA earned the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project 33 certification, and in 2014 received its 5th accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
When granting accreditation, the Academy recognized CRESA for continuously coaching to ensure dispatchers follow protocol and for outstanding initial training, performance assessment, continuing education, and compensation for the center’s dispatchers.
Chagrin Valley Dispatch was the winner of the national 911 Leadership Award from the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials in 2015. The Chagrin Valley Dispatch center is a state-of-the-art emergency dispatching agency that serves 12 municipalities within the Chagrin Valley.
Chagrin Valley Dispatch employs certified staff members using advanced communication systems to initiate, coordinate, and dispatch first responders.
Chagrin Valley Dispatch prides itself on ensuring safe and effective emergancy services are available to all residents of Cuyahoga County when they need it. According to Cuyahoga County Councilman Michael J. Gallagher, the 911 Leadership Award was a “testament to the steps Cuyahoga County has taken to consolidate 911 dispatch centers, which have been vital to regional collaboration with our local communities.”
The Weld County Regional Communications Center is the second largest emergency communications center in the State of Colorado, serving 41 law enforment, fire, and medical agencies.
In October 2013, the Weld County Regional Communications Center received the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) designation. This places the WRCC among an elite group of just 180 dispatch centers worldwide to receive this highly distinguished recognition.
The Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center, also known at Raleigh-Wake 911, provides dispatching and centralized communications for four EMS agencies, eight law enforcement agencies, and 20 fire departments. It serves more than one million residents accross an area that spans 860 square miles.
Raleigh-Wake 911 is just one of four centers in the nation to earn:
- The International Academy of Emergency Dispatch Accredited Center of Excellence (IAED ACE)
- Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
- Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project 33 Training Certification.
In 2014 alone, Raleigh-Wake 911 took more than 860,000 calls, assisted in the delivery of seven babies, and provided countless CPR instructions in realtime that resulted in 11 cardiac saves.
The Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC), also known as Fairfax County 911, is the largest dispatch center in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of the ten largest in the United States. The emergency dispatchers of Fairfax County 911 receive approximately one million calls per year, dispatching units for the Fairfax County Police Department, the Fire and Rescue Department, and the Sheriff’s Office. DPSC is also the designated 911 public safety answering point for the towns of Herndon and Vienna and the City of Fairfax.
DPSC has received accreditation as a 911 Emergency Dispatch Communications Center of Excellence by the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services for four consecutive years. It has consistently received national recognition as a “best in class” agency for its training, technology, public safety telecommunications services, and protocols.
Even with all this, it is ultimately the dispatchers of DPSC that earned it its place on our list of top emergency call centers. Just a few of the awards given to its dispatchers during their annual Public Safety Telecommunicator Promotions and Awards Ceremony include:
- The Exemplary Service Award
- The Meritorious Action Award
- The Excellence in Support of the DPSC Mission Award
In March 2012, the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch designated Prince George County Public Safety Communications 911 Center as a Triple Accredited Center of Excellence. In 2015, it received re-accreditation as a Triple Accredited Center of Excellence by achieving and maintaining the highest standards.
This 911 dispatch center is just one of five in the United States to meet the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch’s rigorous accreditation criteria to achieve this prestigious recognition. Some of the points considered in Academy recognition include:
- Quality assurance standards
- A commitment to ethical practices
- Quality improvement procedures
OnStar is recognized by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch as a Medical Accredited Center of Excellence, an award given to just four percent of all 911 centers. It is the first non-emergency service provider and private company to receive this honor.
As of 2016, OnStar has received and responded to more than 2 million emergency service calls.
The Durham Emergency Communications Center (ECC) was the first 911 center in North Carolina and one of the first 911 centers in the US to enable text-to-911 technology, allowing residents to use a direct 911 texting feature.
The ECC’s 68 employees answer emergency police, fire, and EMS calls, as well as non-emergency calls for more than 250,000 residents and the more than nine million tourists that visit the city each year.
The ECC is an International Academies of Emergency Dispatch Accredited Center of Excellence (IAED ACE). The ECC is also Project 33 certified through the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International, and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies/Public Safety Communications.
The Durham ECC is also part of “Safe and Secure Community,” a strategic plan developed to ensure that 911 calls are answered in such a way as to reduce the occurrence and severity of crime.
The Bell County Communications Center was the first consolidated dispatch center in the U.S. capable of dispatching all police, fire, and EMS agencies from one integrated dispatch center.
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International awarded the Bell County Communications Center’s Evening Shift Operations with the Team of the Year Award in 2015. Bell County Communications Center received the award for demonstrating the highest level of professional conduct and outstanding performance in the line of duty.
The Loveland Emergency Communications Center (LECC) is the Public Safety Answering Point for 911, covering southern Larimer County. In 2007, the Loveland Emergency Communications Center became just one of 82 dispatch centers in the world to receive accreditation in Emergency Medical Dispatching. They achieved re-accreditation in 2015.
Dispatchers of the LECC use specialized medial software to triage patients over the phone and dispatch the appropriate medical personnel.
THE METHODOLOGY WE USED TO COMPILE THIS LIST OF PUBLIC SAFETY ANSWERING POINTS
Awards and Accreditation
With a number of accrediting agencies and industry associations applying rigorous scrutiny in determining which centers were deserving of awards and accreditation, we looked to their findings to help us select the most distinguished emergency dispatch centers in the nation:
- National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED)
- International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)
- Commission on Accredited Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
Excellence of Individual Dispatchers
We recognize that an emergency dispatch center is only as effective as the individual dispatchers they employ. To help find emergency dispatch centers that employed the most dedicated dispatchers, we considered local-level awards and recognitions for individual dispatchers, as well as national recognition through:
- Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO)
- Public Safety Communications Association (PSCA)
Innovation and Expansion
As the population in an area grows and new communications technologies develop, emergency dispatch centers are expected to increase staff, expand facilities and embrace new technology to ensure their continued ability to handle an ever-increasing call volume with the most effective tools available. In compiling our list, we considered such things as inter-agency collaboration, facility expansion and the level of priority the center places on making systems compliant with the latest technology, including text-to-911.