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Union County Public Safety Answering Point

Capt. Robert Hines
414 S. Pinckney Street
Union, SC 29379
rhines@countyofunion.com




The Communications Division of Emergency Services has the responsibility of providing Union County citizens with access to police, fire and medical assisitance 24 hours a day.  All 911 calls placed within Union County are routed to the the Communications Division where they are answered by trained professional telecommunicators. The 911 center is staffed using four teams that include a Shift supervisor, Assistant Supervisor and Dispatcher. Teams work twelve hour shifts. Part-time dispatchers are used to supplement staffing when needed.

The Communications Center also serves as the 24 hour warning point for Union County. It receives Amber alerts, state wide communication from South Carolina Emergency Management and the National Weather Service

What's it like to work in a 911 call center? It can be the most rewarding profession in the world, but at the same time it can be one of the least appreciated. Please read "A Tribute to Dispatchers" and I think you will understand more about the job that they do. 

Working to save lives, one call at a time  
Dispatchers question each caller carefully to determine the type, seriousness, and location of the emergency. The information obtained is entered in the Computer Aided Dispatch software program. The dispatcher then quickly decides the priority of the incident, the kind and number of units needed, and the location of the closest and most suitable units available. Dispatchers stay in close contact with each other —for example, a police dispatcher would monitor the response of the fire department when there is a major fire. In a medical emergency, dispatchers keep in close touch not only with the dispatched units, but also with the caller. They may give pre-arrival instructions before the emergency personnel arrive, while the caller is waiting for the ambulance. Dispatchers continuously give updates on the patient’s condition to EMS. Teamwork is key in a 911 Center. Dispatchers must be proficient in a number of software programs to keep up with the fast paced environment. 

  
 Shown is the 911 call screen and telephone system used by 911

When a call is received from a traditional "land line" the 911 phone system displays the callers name, telephone number and address. Also provided is the police jurisdiction, fire district and emergency medical zone responsible for servicing the caller's location. 
 

 

Shown is the mapping program used to display a caller's location by plotting the coordinates received from a wireless call using the county's GIS data and orthoimagery.  



Calls for service are entered in to the Computer Aided Dispatch System as shown

When the dispatcher has determined the nature of call and what emergency response agency is needed, he/she enters the call type and address into the Computer Aided Dispatch software program.


This session of the Computer Aided Dispatch System allows the dispatcher to monitor the activity of all departments and units.  

The software then recommends to the dispatcher which unit to send to the call based upon which units are signed on for duty and which units are not answering other calls for service. The CAD program also serves as a records management system and for all police, fire and medical call records.  




Motorola software shown above is used to transmit and receive countywide radio traffic and to activate tones for fire deparments and EMS

Dispatchers are responsible for radio communication with Union County Sheriff's Office, City of Union Public Safety Department, Union County Volunteer Fire Departments, Union County Rescue Squad, Union County Emergency Medical Services, Union County's Emergency Management Division and during emergencies may monitor the County Public Works Department and County Animal Control Officer's frequency.


This software is used for SLED/NCIC access 

Dispatchers also have responsibilty of monitoring the county's FBI/NCIC messaging system. This interstate computerized system allows law enforcement direct access to wanted, missing and unidentified persons files, stolen property files, vehicle registration and drivers license records. Dispatchers are required to submit to a background investigation and acheive certification to access SLED/CJIS-FBI/NCIC network.  

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