EMERGENCY DIAL 911
The Fairfield Emergency Communications Center (ECC) was established in 1990, as a combined and centralized 911 call center and answering point for both emergencies and non-emergencies requests for Police, Fire and Medical services in the Town of Fairfield, Connecticut. The ECC’s fifteen civilian Emergency Telecommunicators are certified in accordance with federal, state and local requirements.
Fairfield’s Emergency Telecommunicators receive and process nearly 250,000 telephone calls from the general public annually. In addition, they process thousands of requests via radio from Fairfield Police Officer and Firefighters along with a multitude of other law enforcement and public safety agencies including the town’s surrounding Fairfield, the Connecticut State Police, Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University Public Safety Departments, the United States Coast Guard and more. ECC personnel are responsible for monitoring approximately thirty radio channels at any given time.
Emergency Telecommunicators are often the initial first responder the public encounters in an emergency. They are trained and certified to provide pre-arrival instructions to callers reporting medical emergencies including traumatic injury, cardiac arrest, pre-mature labor, and allergic reaction. The instructive protocols, mandated by State law, are designed to provide life-saving care during the critical minutes before first responders (Police, Fire and EMS) are able to arrive on the scene. Additionally, ECC personnel receive specialized training in handling critical incidents including hostage negotiation, domestic violence, sexual assault, active shooter, bomb threat, suicidal threat, crisis intervention and crime in progress. Special training is also received in special techniques in handling calls from the elderly as well as the very young.
Dispatchers are charged with determining the location of an emergency, gathering information from the caller, assessing the information to determine the level and type of response that will be dispatched and then relaying the information to the appropriate first responders in the field. Information is passed along to first responders via the radio unless the information is particularly sensitive. All necessary follow-up notifications are also made by dispatchers.
The Emergency Communications Center is located within the Fairfield Police Department’s Headquarters and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Emergency Communications Center personnel are further responsible for monitoring and recording all calls for service using a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. Emergency Telecommunicators record all calls for service using this computer system as well as monitor the location and status of all Police and Fire Department units in Fairfield. ECC personnel are also charged with analyzing and disseminating information from the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing (COLLECT) System. The COLLECT system provides access to in-state COLLECT files and access to two national systems: National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and International Justice and Public Safety Information Sharing Network (NLETS).
NCIC stores criminal justice data for the entire country and Canada; NLETS provides the communication lines to individual states as well as Canada. Using NLETS, Emergency Telecommunicators can obtain motor vehicle data and criminal history data from states across the country and Canada. NLETS also allows states to send messages to one or more states at a time or to send a nationwide broadcast.
COLLECT also provides dispatchers with access to other state systems and files such as:
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Sex Offender Registry (SOR)
- Protective Order Registry (POR)
- Department Of Corrections (DOC)
- State Police Criminal History (CCH) Weapons
- Offender Based Tracking System (OBTS)
- Paperless Re-Arrest Warrant Network(PRAWN),
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),
- The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and more.
Extracting specific and precise information from the caller is critical in keeping First Responders safe and sending the appropriate help to the caller. Questions the dispatcher will ask depend on the type of incident being reported. Here is a sampling of what a caller should expect.
For medical emergencies, dispatchers will ask the age and sex of the patient as well as the chief complaint or symptom, i.e. difficulty breathing, chest pain, type of injury, etc. If appropriate, the dispatcher will guide the caller through CPR steps. The dispatcher is also certified to provide pre-arrival medical instructions for injuries and other conditions.
For callers reporting suspicious activity, dispatchers will ask for descriptions of subjects and/or cars involved, as well as the nature of the suspicious activity.
For crimes in progress, the use of or insinuation of weapons, is most critical for officer safety; Also, dispatchers must get as many descriptions as possible and direction of travel for anyone that has fled the scene.
For car accidents, dispatchers will ask about injuries, air bag deployment and fluid leaks. If one party evades the scene, direction of travel and descriptions are critical.