Sheriff Michael Strada announced that Wantage Township and Sussex Borough have entered into a five-year shared service agreement for dispatching services at the Sussex County Sheriff’s 9-1-1 Communications Center.
After several months of technical and logistical planning and preparation, both municipalities seamlessly transitioned to the county center. Wantage and Sussex join the eleven other municipalities currently utilizing the call taking and dispatching services of the largest 9-1-1 communications center in the county.
Representatives from the state Office of Emergency Telecommunications, several telecommunications providers and municipal and county officials were present during the cutover to insure a successful implementation. The county 9-1-1 center service area encompasses 65% of the county’s geographical area.
The communications center will be responsible for handling all 9-1-1 calls for their municipalities.
Sheriff Strada stated, “I am glad to see other municipalities join our communications center as we offer the latest technology and dispatching services. The emergency service organizations that are currently utilizing our center realize the benefits of a central communications center.”
More About Sussex County Sheriff’s Communications Center:
The Sussex County Sheriff’s Communications Center came online in 1990 as a two dispatch position center and has evolved over the years to become a ten dispatch position, capable of serving as a single point Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for all of Sussex County.
Now located on county-owned property in Frankford Township, the facility answered its first 9-1-1 call on December 16, 2014 at 2:24 p.m. reporting a residential smoke condition in Hampton Township.
The communications center provides regular dispatch services for the sheriff’s office and serves as a PSAP for enhanced 911 calls. The center currently serves thirteen local municipalities with 911 answering/emergency dispatch service:
- Branchville Borough
- Byram Township
- Frankford Township
- Fredon Township
- Green Township
- Hampton Township
- Lafayette Township
- Montague Township
- Sandyston Township
- Stillwater Township
- Sussex Borough
- Walpack Township
- Wantage Township
The Sussex County Sheriff’s Communications Center was designed and constructed to be able to serve as a single point Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) serving all of Sussex County. The center was built as an addition to the existing emergency operating center in Frankford Township to be in compliance with federal and state construction standards, which include minimizing the potential for threats from natural or human sources. The center is located on a secured site and is continuously monitored through alarms systems and video surveillance.
Ten 911 console positions are located on the main communications floor. Positions are staffed to meet the demands of the services that are requested, but a minimum of 2 public safety telecommunicators (PST) are staffed continuously. All data, radio, telephone and other electronic systems are supported by a number of robust redundancy measures to ensure the services can continued to be provided when normal service resources are interrupted.
By original design, the communications center is supported by a backup facility, often referred to as a “hot site.” The backup site serves as a redundant communications site to the center located in Frankford Township. Real time synchronization between the two sites is used to completely mirror the environment of the main communications site in Frankford using wide area network links and specialized software. In the event of a disruption to the main Frankford site, personnel can relocate to this hot site and resume operations with minimal downtime. In lessons learned from 9/11, this hot site provides for complete redundant emergency communications capabilities from a geographically different location.
The communications center provides reliable professional services, supported by a robust communications plan that provides the following capabilities:
- Facility designed and constructed to be earthquake and hurricane proof (NENA standard).
- Adjacent to fully functioning emergency operations center with 14 fully functional emergency services activation positions.
- Two redundant emergency building power generators, each using a different fuel source—diesel and natural gas.
- In addition to generator support, UPS battery backup on all critical electronic components.
- 911 communications center designed and built with ten individual dispatch positions, able to accommodate the entire county 911 call taking and dispatching needs.
- “Hot” backup remote center at sheriff’s office with three individual dispatch positions that mirror those at the main 911 communication site.
- Equipped with eight 911 trunks directed between the main 911 communications site and the hot backup site, effectively eliminating a single point of failure.
- 911 systems supported by three geo-diverse servers—two at the main 911 center in the event one server fails and the third located at the sheriff’s office hot backup site in the event the main 911 communications center experiences a total 911 server failure.
- Microwave link from sheriff’s office hot backup site to the main 911 communications center to ensure clear communication between the two sites, supported with a robust backup Ethernet fiber connection.
- Back up battery system and emergency generators at all microwave sights for power outages.
- Use of eight tower sites throughout the county with numerous backup features with each frequency utilized.
- Back up UHF/VHF radio in the event of a primary radio failure.
- Redundant network switches to insure continued data connectivity in the event a failure.
- Access/use of countywide GIS data for most accurate location and efficient dispatch of calls.
- Real time monitoring of critical data services to allow for and provide immediate remediation.
- Real time monitoring of environmental conditions in server and radio rooms to allow for and provide immediate remediation.
- Redundant HVAC systems in server rooms to insure appropriate environmental conditions for electronics.
- Currently serving 10 municipal clients as a 911 Public Safety Answering and Dispatch Point.
- Provides emergency medical dispatch protocols to callers.
- Provides Text to 9-1-1 service.
- Provides AVL tracking for sheriff and both paid and volunteer fire and EMS organizations.
- Robust computer automated dispatch system with mapping to pinpoint specific locations of emergencies to aid in response by emergency first responders.
- CAD system is fully replicated to a disaster recovery server every 2 hours.
- Network time synchronization from a satellite to insure accurate time stamping across all resources.
- EMAG service, which gives our paging function used by local emergency service personnel priority access to the Verizon texting network.
- Robust records management system able to provide clients with end detailed call reports.
- NENA compliance—a minimum of two telecommunicators on duty at all times, none of whom are accessible to the public or assigned clerk duties.
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