9-1-1 service is a vital part of our nation’s emergency response and disaster preparedness system. In October 1999, the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (9-1-1 Act) took effect with the purpose of improving public safety by encouraging and facilitating the prompt deployment of a nationwide, seamless communications infrastructure for emergency services. One provision of the 9-1-1 Act directs the FCC to make 9-1-1 the universal emergency number for all telephone services.
In order to deliver emergency help more quickly and effectively, the carriers and public safety entities are upgrading the 9-1-1 network on a regular basis. For example, most 9-1-1 systems now automatically report the telephone number and location of 9-1-1 calls made from wire line phones, a capability called Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1.
E-911, short for Enhanced-911, is a location technology advanced by the FCC that will enable mobile, or cellular, phones to process 911 emergency calls and enable emergency services to locate the geographic position of the callers networked –base cellular phone to within 100 meters and hand-set based phones to within 50 meters, not the location of the tower. This technology is known as phase II compliance, the FCC refers to this as Automatic Location Identification. (ALI)
Iron County Central Dispatch History
After a huge amount of volunteer work by many Iron County residents, the dream of Emergency 911 service became a reality for Iron County, by vote of the people, on December 15th 2000.
The Dispatch Center was located at the Iron County Sheriffs Office in Crystal Falls. This location was critical in the decision of many voters, many felt that Iron County E-911 should not be any were but in Iron County. The funding mechanism for E-911 was and is a telephone surcharge at a State and National level, which is charged to all “land” lines in Iron County.
Through the time period of 2001 to 2009 there were “911 dispatchers” and “Sheriffs department dispatchers” working together to provide 24 /7, 365 days a year service to the residents of Iron County. Now let’s move ahead to the year 2009. With the State of Michigan changing it’s old funding mechanism, which now included cell phones or any devise capable of calling 911 to be charged the 911 surcharge, not just “land” lines anymore. Big changes were going to occur. One of them and the first was, the consolidation of the Sheriffs Department dispatchers into the E-9-1-1 Department, forming the new Iron County Central Dispatch E-911 office.
With that consolidation, the newly formed Iron County Central Dispatch was ready for expansion of its services. First, by moving out of the Sheriffs Department and into a newly remodeled room in the Court House complex, expanded the department’s capabilities. That following year in 2010 the newly formed Iron County Central Dispatch E-911 began dispatching and taking 911 calls for Gogebic County as well as Iron County. The department had also been able to upgrade its equipment and through a regional grant in 2011, acquired an integrated C.A.D (Computer Aided Dispatch) system that went live June 1st 2012, connecting all (7) – P.S.A.P’s (Public Safety Answering Points) on a fiber network though out the whole Upper Peninsula. This new technology enables faster dispatching times, information sharing and allows each PSAP to dispatch another in the event of a disaster to another PSAP facility. With this new service, 24/7 service to any community is capable, regardless of any disaster scenario through out the Upper Peninsula.
Iron County Central Dispatch currently employs (9) fulltime dispatchers and (4) part time dispatchers, fully trained, to provide 24 hour coverage 365 days a year. This agency dispatches for; 12- Law enforcement agencies, 18 – Fire departments, 14 – EMS agencies and numerous Utilities and victims service agencies for public safety and peace of mind. Iron County Central Dispatch has prided itself on setting the pace and leading other 9-1-1 centers into the next generation.