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In 1968, 9-1-1 became the national emergency number for the United States. Calling this common three-digit number provided a caller access to police, fire and ambulance services, through what would become known as a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). On February 16, 1968, the first-ever 9-1-1 call was placed from the City Hall in Haleyville Alabama to the city's police station. The phone used to answer the first 9-1-1 call, a bright red model, is now in a museum in Haleyville. The technology used to process and dispatch a 9-1-1 call has changed dramatically since 1968.
Large, multi-million dollar computer systems are now in place to receive a 9-1-1 call, route the call to the appropriate call taker, identify the caller’s location and phone number, recommend the appropriate public safety units, monitor the location of first responders, and track the incident throughout the dispatch process.
Complex radio equipment is in place to ensure first responders can coordinate with the dispatcher and with each other as they respond to the incident. As a result, Prince George’s County is able to provide its citizens with the highest level of public safety response possible.
Public Safety Communications receives calls for public safety assistance through 9-1-1 or the 10-digit non-emergency number. Each call, regardless of the number dialed (9-1-1 or 301-352-1200) is processed using a Nortel PBX and Cassidian 9-1-1 system obtained from Motorola Solutions. The system routes incoming calls to the next available 9-1-1 call taker by way of an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system.
The information gathered by the call taker is entered into our Tiburon Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and the call for service information is routed to the appropriate dispatcher for processing. When the incident is displayed on the dispatcher’s status monitor, the CAD system will recommend units to respond, based upon the geographic area and unit availability. Updates from the 9-1-1 call takers and information from field personnel are entered into the CAD system to provide the latest information to the field units, as well as the call takers and dispatcher still working on the call.
Public Safety Communications law enforcement and fire/EMS dispatchers use the County’s state of the art Motorola 700 MHz, TDMA radio system to communicate and dispatch the appropriate units to incidents. All communication between the first responders and the dispatch personnel takes place via this radio system. The radio system provides interoperability with the public safety first responders to ensure coordinated efforts between public safety agencies and seamless communication with the dispatchers. The radio system is also a life line between first responders and the dispatcher. Should an emergency situation occur, the dispatcher is able to send immediate assistance to the officer, deputy or firefighter in need.