On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) became one of the first centers in the nation to implement capabilities that allow fire and emergency medical services (EMS) dispatchers and supervisors to deliver critical emergency communications services no matter where they are.
Now, Arlington Fire-EMS dispatchers and supervisors are able work from a remote location, including from home. New capabilities in the 9-1-1 system allow for remote call-taking, dispatch, and supervision—breaking new ground in decentralizing and distributing public safety emergency communications.
These upgrades, supported by FirstNet, Microsoft, and Motorola, provide redundancy and resiliency to continue operations even when employees cannot physically report to a traditional 9-1-1 center. Emergency communications professionals now can dispatch lifesaving resources to residents even while facing a variety of hazards that would have previously disrupted their work.
These new capabilities also build upon the combined Arlington County/Alexandria City NG 9-1-1 system that was deployed in the fall 2019 to provide additional resiliency and more accurate call routing. Delivery of emergency communications services to the public and to first responders is critical to the health and safety of communities. It demands innovative approaches to ensure continuity of operations.
“Pandemics, natural disasters, major weather events, and significant man-made events do not respect the constraints of the traditional delivery of 9-1-1 services,” says Dave Mulholland, Administrator of the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center. “Over the past year, we’ve learned that we must be able to provide critical services even when the traditional brick-and-mortar center is not available. We look forward to continuing to serve the Arlington community and leading the industry with the rollout of this new technology.”