Posted at 3:30 p.m.
The second full week of April — April 10-16 this year — is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. It is a time to recognize and honor the thousands of men and women across the country who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance.
We want to take a moment to recognize the hard-working staff of our 9-1-1 Center, Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications, which was named one of the top 10 9-1-1 Centers of 2015 by the editorial staff at 911DispatcherEDU.org, for going “above and beyond to provide outstanding service.”
That service is provided by the dedicated employees that work at our 9-1-1 Center, who take emergency calls calmly and professionally 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
These employees are truly the first of the first responders and proudly serve the residents of Fairfax County. They receive approximately 1 million calls per year requesting public safety service and they dispatch units of the Fairfax County Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department and Sheriff’s Office. In addition to Fairfax County, the 9-1-1 Center also is the designated 9-1-1 public safety answering point (PSAP) for the towns of Herndon and Vienna and the City of Fairfax.
The Fairfax County 9-1-1 Center is the largest public safety answering point (PSAP) in Virginia, one of the 10 largest in the United States and is nationally recognized as a “best in class” agency for its public safety telecommunications services, training, technology and policies and procedures.
Fairfax County 9-1-1 … always there … always ready … 24/7/365.
Learn more about 9-1-1 here in Fairfax County online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911/.
Posted at 1:30 p.m.
Did you know when you call our 9-1-1 center, that you are reaching one of the best trained centers in the country?
The county’s 9-1-1 Call Center, also called the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC), has met the training standards for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Agency Training Program Certification.
Only 52 of the more than 6,100 U.S. public safety communications centers have reached this plateau of achievement and excellence. This marks the second time DPSC has earned this distinction.
Public safety agencies utilize the APCO International training certification program as a formal way to ensure their training programs meet national standards.
In the video below, Steve Souder, director of the 9-1-1 Center, and Tammy Murcek, training and career development manager, explain the training program and the certification.
“The Department of Public Safety Communications has shown dedication to their community and those they serve by renewing their certification,” noted APCO President John Wright.
The APCO certification was effective July 2. The center will be recognized on Aug. 19 during APCO’s 81st Annual Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C.
Learn more about the county’s 9-1-1 Center.
Posted at 5:05 p.m.
Road conditions remain treacherous around the region this afternoon and there are multiple road closures throughout the county. Fairfax County 9-1-1 has received calls from drivers asking about abandoning their vehicles. These vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. If you can safely move your vehicle out of travel lanes you can call a tow truck to get the vehicle home; any vehicle left for more than 12 hours or deemed a road hazard by the police will be towed.
Abandoned vehicles may also contribute to accidents and the owner will be ticketed in this event. Exiting your vehicle puts you and other drivers in danger. If your vehicle is stuck and you are in danger, call 9-1-1, but otherwise you should have it towed.
Please remain off the roads if possible. Visibility is limited, temperatures are dropping and conditions are further deteriorating.
More than 3,800 trucks continue to plow roads in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties according to VDOT. Staying off the roads allows crews to work safely. Crews are spreading salt and abrasives, as appropriate, concentrating their response efforts on the most heavily traveled routes. VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. This storm; however, may deliver a second punch as temperatures drop to record levels and icy conditions remain likely into Friday.
Posted at 11:30 a.m.
Our Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) — the county’s 9-1-1 Center — has been accredited as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatch Communications Center of Excellence by the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services. This is the fourth consecutive two-year accreditation, spanning eight years, that DPSC has received.
To receive this accreditation, a center must have an approved emergency medical dispatch program that trains 9-1-1 calltakers to provide emergency medical pre-arrival instructions to callers needing EMS response.
As an example of the positive impact of emergency medical dispatch-pre arrival instruction, in calendar year 2013, county calltakers assisted in the following critical life threatening/lifesaving events*:
- Choking Events — 7
- Child Birth Delivery Events — 12
- Drowning Events — 13
- Shooting Events — 80
- Stabbing Events — 102
- Attempted Suicide Events — 280
- CPR Events — 1,523
“Every action DPSC engages in 24/7 is of great value and importance to the residents of Fairfax County,” said DPSC Director Steve Souder, “but none more so than the lifesaving/life enabling medical instruction provided by 9-1-1 calltakers when rendering Emergency Medical Dispatch-Pre Arrival Instruction, prior to the arrival of EMS units.”
“The Virginia EMD re-accreditation is a testament to our program and the skill, ability and professionalism of our personnel,” Souder added.
The Department of Public Safety Communications is a combined police, fire and emergency medical services dispatch facility. It is the public safety answering point for all 9-1-1 calls dialed in Fairfax County, including the towns of Herndon and Vienna, and the City of Fairfax. The department also is the answering point for non-emergency calls for service for Police, Fire and Rescue. The center answers more than 1.2 million calls a year.
The Department of Public Safety Communications is located at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC) on Alliance Drive, Fairfax.
*Statistics are based on remarks entered in CAD (computer aided dispatch) and final event types.
Posted at 2 p.m.
The National 9-1-1 Education Coalition recognizes April as National 9-1-1 Education Month. This year’s theme is “Be 9-1-1 Ready.”
Here’s a few key things to remember when calling 9-1-1:
- Know Where You Are: Where are you right now? Can you tell 9-1-1 exactly where to find you?
- Use a Landline: Whenever possible, use a landline to call 9-1-1. Cellphone calls aren’t always routed to the closest call center and the time it takes to transfer your call to the call center is important in an emergency.
- Stay Calm and Ready to Listen: 9-1-1 will stay on the line to help you until help arrives. Be ready to listen and follow directions.
- Never Hang Up – Even if you called 9-1-1 by accident, or if you think the problem has gone away, it is important that you stay on the phone until the call taker tells you it is alright to hang up. It is the call taker’s job to make sure that you are OK and that help has gotten to whoever needs it. In situations where you aren’t able to talk or have to leave, keep the phone off the hook so that the 9-1-1 operator can hear what is going on in the room. Most times, they will be able to use the computers at the 9-1-1 Center to find your address.
Fairfax County’s 9-1-1 Center is the primary 9-1-1 public safety answering point for Fairfax County, as well as the City of Fairfax and the towns of Herndon and Vienna. The center provides the dispatch for all units of the Fairfax County Police Department and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, including the City of Fairfax Fire Department and the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office.
Fairfax County’s 9-1-1 Center – located at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center (MPSTOC) and collocated on the operations floor with call takers and dispatchers from Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation – is one of the 50 largest in the U.S. and the largest in Virginia. Call takers and dispatchers in Fairfax County answer approximately 2,200 calls for assistance daily; some 830,000 annually from the public, both 9-1-1 and non-emergency.
For more information about 9-1-1 Education Month or the county’s 9-1-1 Call Center, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911.