Nov 292010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

The upgraded emergency phone call system installed by the Poudre Emergency Communications Center two weeks ago has already made dialing 9-1-1 less stressful.

The PECC spent about $300,000 to upgrade its emergency system on Nov. 17 with Automatic Call Distribution, a system that manages all emergency and non-emergency calls that emergency services in Fort Collins receive.

The old system processed all calls into dispatcher’s lines, forcing dispatchers to answer all calls without knowing the nature of the call. There was no distinction, which meant that a non-emergency call could be answered over an emergency call.

Three dispatchers typically handle an influx of about 300 calls per day on 12 incoming lines. Plans to have up to six dispatchers at a time are currently being discussed.

“It can get pretty overwhelming,” said PECC Director Carol Workman.

Now calls are answered in a more orderly fashion to ensure emergency calls are placed on the highest priority, followed by fire and ambulance and administrative calls.

Busy lines now send calls to a queue where callers will be told they have reached the office and will be assisted shortly and asked their emergency prior to being assisted.

The system records the length of time each call stays in the queue and how quickly the calls are answered, a feature unavailable in the old system.

“It will be a better level of service to the community,” Workman said.

The address and phone number for calls will also appear faster than the seven seconds the old system took to display the items.

No clear data on the response time is available, and PECC is still adjusting to the new methods. Calls put in to the CSU Police Department will be unaffected by the upgraded system, said CSU spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg.

“It’s new and we’re still getting used to it,” Workman said.

Fort Collins Police Services always urges people to call 9-1-1 in times of emergency and 970-221-6540 for non-emergency calls.

Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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