Consolidating dispatch centers

But more recent advances in modern communications have made everything from backroom centralizations to full on regional consolidations possible.

“Twenty years ago, we didn’t have the technology to do that,” Messinger said. The centralization model saves money and preserves the calltaking positions at each local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).” With the ongoing technology potential of initiatives such as Next Generation 9-1-1, those in the industry are seeing that, “For better or for worse the consolidation doors have been opened, and opened wide,” Messinger said. alone, a staggering 240 million 9-1-1 calls are received by PSAPs annually, and this volume continues to increase, according to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

Loss of local control, whether real or perceived, (despite the existence of an oversight committee of participating agencies) may be too much for some decision makers to accept.

“In the vast majority of cases, there are clear benefits to consolidation,” the CSRIC study states.

The emergency communications needs of each agency and the jurisdictions it serves can differ greatly based on a variety of factors.

Though dispatch center consolidation is not a new concept, it is one whose implementation was impeded until more recently due to a lack of requisite technology, Messinger said.Dornseif said the only sure method for public safety officials and decision makers to know what type of fiscal savings and benefits a proposed consolidation will provide is to commission a comprehensive feasibility study by an independent contractor.Potential benefits of consolidation might include budget savings based on commensurate reductions in staff, infrastructure, equipment, and other factors; improved and faster communications and coordination between agencies and agency partners; and access to more advanced emergency communications systems, technology, and standardized protocols that help eliminate mistakes.In the face of tough economic times, jurisdictions have increasingly sought after ways to pool resources and eliminate redundancies.That has led agencies and government entities to consolidate comm.

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