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Emergency services benefit from enhanced 911 system

Pat Rodriguez, Schriever dispatch supervisor, pulls up a map using the enhanced 911 system that was recently installed and implemented at Schriever.  (Courtesy photo)

Pat Rodriguez, Schriever dispatch supervisor, pulls up a map using the enhanced 911 system that was recently installed and implemented at Schriever. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever's emergency services recently implemented an enhanced 911 service on base. The new system is computer based and represents a significant upgrade to the base's legacy 911 system.

"We're responding to an Air Force requirement to introduce enhanced 911 service on base," said Rob Finley, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron fire emergency services assistant chief of training. "We're required to provide automatic location information to both on-base personnel as well as the local civilian public service point, if needed, and this upgrade does that."

Finley said the new "intelligent" telephone interface runs through a standard personal computer platform and provides three separate answering points on base, two at the Schriever Fire Department and another at the 50th Security Forces Squadron. All answering points have the capability to answer, transfer and record critical response information and the new system improves information transfer between emergency agencies.

"It's understandable that when faced with an emergency or hostile situation, people tend to have a difficult time telling a dispatcher things like where they are calling from and other important information," said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Miller, 50th Security Forces Squadron assistant NCO in charge of operations. "With this enhanced 911 system, a dispatcher can see a caller's phone number and location and immediately map to where they are located, down to building and room number."

The Schriever Fire Department conducts an annual review of each building layout and has loaded those layouts into the enhanced 911 system. As a result, dispatchers can even guide fire fighters through smoke-filled hallways via radio, for example.

"The mapping system provides us with an ability to customize location plotting of cordons and we can pull up complex interiors of buildings," Finley said. "This information will be extremely helpful to incident commanders and provide a safer atmosphere for responders and installation personnel."

The enhanced 911 system also includes TTY/TDD typewriters, which allows dispatchers to also communicate with hearing impaired callers and an instant replay recorder allows dispatchers to record phone and radio conversations. In turn, dispatchers can share, display, organize, save and playback information from each workstation.

Finley said overall emergency response time relies on several factors, but the enhanced system will aid communications center dispatchers and improve information processing time.

"All in all, it's a great system," he said. "We did have several bumps in the road to work out, but the new system is online and we are continuing to train personnel for proficiency."

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