Communications Center Tour

Welcome to the dispatch center at LCWC. Here we will follow the processing of a 9-1-1 emergency call.
 Calltaker console  
9-1-1 Calltaker Console
When you dial 9-1-1 your call will be answered by a calltaker sitting at a console like the one pictured to the left. The call-taker will enter your information into the Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD) while they are on the line with you. The information will include your location, the type of emergency, and a full description of what is happening. After all the information has been entered and verified, the computer will route the call to the proper dispatcher based on the type of incident and the location.
Almost all 9-1-1 calls will be routed to a police dispatcher, like the one shown here. In addition to criminal activity, police departments are notified of all fire and medical emergencies in their area. The county is divided into 4 geographic zones, plus Lancaster City, and one dispatcher works each zone. The police dispatchers use basically the same equipment as the 9-1-1 call-taker. In addition, the dispatch positions have a radio console that keep them in contact with the units in the field. Police dispatchers also have access to the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC) that allows them to access information on criminal warrants, stolen items, driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. 
  Police dispatch console
Police Dispatcher
 Fire dispatch console 
Fire Dispatcher 
If an emergency requires a response from a fire department or ambulance, the call will simultaneously be routed to a second dispatcher who handles both fire and EMS dispatching. Like the police dispatch, the fire dispatch is divided into geographic areas. There are four dispatchers working at all times. The CAD system will suggest to the dispatcher the units that are to be sent on the call. Using the radio console, the dispatcher will page the required agencies and activate the fire department's siren.

After units are dispatched, both the police and fire dispatchers will continue to be involved in the incident until it is complete. They will track unit status, dispatch additional units, make notifications by phone for units in the field, and log all important information into the CAD system.