No more 911 call busy signals on the Midshore

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ThePhotoGuy

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CENTREVILLE – 911 Dispatchers on the Midshore are joining ranks to ensure that 911 callers do not get a busy signal; instead overflow calls will roll over to another trained dispatcher in a neighboring county to insure that all calls are answered by a professional.

“About 70 percent of 911 calls come in via cell phones,” said Director
Queen Anne's County Department of Emergency Services, Scott Haas. “Today, after six 911 cell phone lines are in use, the caller gets a busy signal. Our partnership with Kent, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester Counties will eliminate that problem.”

Queen Anne's County, MD - Official Website



Looks like this began last month or so. Anyone know exactly how this works? I assume each county has access to each others CAD so they can input the information for the other county's dispatch?
 

Mr_Boh

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You have to use CAD to CAD links or have a regionalized system. Arlington Alexandria and Fairfax do CAD to CAD for example and are able to dispatch each other’s units without intervention. How it actually works from a procedural standpoint is up to the individual counties as there are plenty out there that have CAD to CAD links but may not allow a dispatcher in one jurisdiction to dispatch another’s without their 911 center intervening.

The call handling is a little more difficult but all the counties are probably all served from on main trunk so it was easier to allow the rollover. That capability has been around for a while as it’s how a lot of counties with independent jurisdictions within larger government entities (like a city inside a county with a county wide dispatch system) handle call taking.
 

ocguard

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You have to use CAD to CAD links or have a regionalized system. Arlington Alexandria and Fairfax do CAD to CAD for example and are able to dispatch each other’s units without intervention. How it actually works from a procedural standpoint is up to the individual counties as there are plenty out there that have CAD to CAD links but may not allow a dispatcher in one jurisdiction to dispatch another’s without their 911 center intervening.

The call handling is a little more difficult but all the counties are probably all served from on main trunk so it was easier to allow the rollover. That capability has been around for a while as it’s how a lot of counties with independent jurisdictions within larger government entities (like a city inside a county with a county wide dispatch system) handle call taking.
That's an unprecedented level of interoperability!
 

W8RMH

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Great idea. I have actually been put on hold by 911 before they obtain any information. I have also been transferred and the line went dead. Sometimes it is faster to call the police or fire non-emergency line which usually goes right to the radio dispatcher.
 

boatbod

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I doubt there is any cad to cad on the shore. It's either landline or over the air; sometimes I hear other counties calling Talbot on their dispatch channel e.g. "Caroline to Talbot, prepare to copy". Just last week I heard a Talbot dispatcher telling a responding unit that the original 911 call was handled by Dorchester, so I guess it's working.
 

gesucks

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It is not over the air. It is via ESI-Net. It is next gen 911 which will be able to link 911 at multiple PSAPs.
Radio
CAD
911
3 different things
 

boatbod

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It is not over the air. It is via ESI-Net. It is next gen 911 which will be able to link 911 at multiple PSAPs.
Radio
CAD
911
3 different things
So why do Caroline always alert Talbot over the air before passing the call info? To be fair you never hear the call info given out by the Caroline dispatcher, but they always "wake them up" before passing the call.
 

sc8

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How does the dispatcher in the correct jurisdiction get the call notes if it is not through CAD. Do they now have to monitor an additional screen?

Also if the dispatcher is telling field units the original call was handled by another agency, that usually means the dispatcher didn't have an answer for the units question. That means potentially safety critical information was lost in translation. Not good.
 

boatbod

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How does the dispatcher in the correct jurisdiction get the call notes if it is not through CAD. Do they now have to monitor an additional screen?

Also if the dispatcher is telling field units the original call was handled by another agency, that usually means the dispatcher didn't have an answer for the units question. That means potentially safety critical information was lost in translation. Not good.
Transfer of basic patient information does not require a computer screen and can be accomplished in a short period of time. I'd say the average for most calls is probably 30 seconds or less to communicate: address, cross streets, sex, age, level of consciousness, chief complaint, pertinent supplementary info.

Does the dispatcher always have an answer? No, but if they can they will usually try to call someone to find out.
 

ocguard

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Transfer of basic patient information does not require a computer screen and can be accomplished in a short period of time. I'd say the average for most calls is probably 30 seconds or less to communicate: address, cross streets, sex, age, level of consciousness, chief complaint, pertinent supplementary info.

Does the dispatcher always have an answer? No, but if they can they will usually try to call someone to find out.
Yeah, but what if it's an ongoing call or something in progress/dynamic? A basic EMD call or a car fire is one thing. But what about a B&E or armed robbery? Those are a lot of points of relay in those cases.
 

gesucks

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How does the dispatcher in the correct jurisdiction get the call notes if it is not through CAD. Do they now have to monitor an additional screen?

Also if the dispatcher is telling field units the original call was handled by another agency, that usually means the dispatcher didn't have an answer for the units question. That means potentially safety critical information was lost in translation. Not good.
CAD does not equal 911.
2 separate systems by 2 different vendors.
usually 3 screens, 911, CAD, Radio.
Depending on CAD, the user may see them as integrated on the screen but they are 3 separate systems under the hood.

With ESI-Net you do not have to have the same 911 vendors. The ESI-Net handles the routing from the phone company to PSAP.
PSAP 1 busy, routes 911 call to PSAP 2.
PSAP 2 take call but is in PSAP 1 area.
Call goes in PSAP 2 CAD which PSAP 1 does not have access to.
PSAP 2 calls PSAP 1 over radio or phone and says "I have call at xyz for you in your area"
 

Jorza

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I'm seeing a lot of guesswork in this thread so let me break it down for you all as someone who deals with this day in and day out.

The counties of Kent, Queen Anne, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester all have a working agreement that they will handle each others 911 calls in the event of rollovers. The order goes like this as to "who gets whos calls" Dorchester to Caroline, Caroline to Talbot, Talbot to Queen Anne, Queen Anne to Kent and Kent to.....Dorchester. Yes that might cause some confusion on Dorchesters side getting calls from 3 counties away but back to the topic at hand.

A lot of times when we receive calls from Caroline during a rollover situation like a bad wreck on 404 or a house fire we will begin to take the information from the caller to get an idea of the situation. Most of the time we verify the address is in Caroline county and then attempt to transfer the call back to them so they can get the additional information from the caller instead of us gathering the information and attempting to pass it along thru the phone or radio which I'll get to in a second. If we transfer it back and they pick up and process the call no big deal, however if they do not or it takes a large amount of rings to pass thru we will take pertinent information and disconnect with the caller.

The idea behind this system is that no one gets a busy signal, so even if a large event like a wreck is occurring but grandma who lives back in the woods 10 miles away is having chest pains she won't have to wait for someone to answer the call.

Now onto how we pass along information regarding calls. From my experience we primarily use 3 methods of getting information from one county to another, which are, but not limited to the ol' fashioned landline, the MESIN network (which is apparently in the process of being phased out) and the "Intercom". The phone is exactly what you think, we call, give the information and they dispatch. MESIN is of course used by the entire shore so we attempt to keep things short and sweet, usually just to verify cross streets or a call type. And then we have the UMDES IC or "Intercom" which from my knowledge is used primarily Kent and Queen Anne as a console-to-console, plain speech, system that's only used by Eastern Shore FiRST users, as I said Queen Anne and Kent are heavy users and I don't know if Caroline has access to it (I'm the only one from Talbot that I know of who uses it as we still prefer using MESIN).

So there you have it, we don't have any CAD to CAD setup or anything of that matter however we do have an MSAG in Talbot that includes Caroline and Queen Anne counties so I wouldn't put it out of mind that they are planning on transitioning to the same CAD we use at some point which would certainly make it interesting if they were to implement some sort of CAD transfer from county to county.

(Also sorry about the wall of text but I couldn't watch you all squirm trying to figure this out :) )
 

ThePhotoGuy

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I'm seeing a lot of guesswork in this thread so let me break it down for you all as someone who deals with this day in and day out.

The counties of Kent, Queen Anne, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester all have a working agreement that they will handle each others 911 calls in the event of rollovers. The order goes like this as to "who gets whos calls" Dorchester to Caroline, Caroline to Talbot, Talbot to Queen Anne, Queen Anne to Kent and Kent to.....Dorchester. Yes that might cause some confusion on Dorchesters side getting calls from 3 counties away but back to the topic at hand.

A lot of times when we receive calls from Caroline during a rollover situation like a bad wreck on 404 or a house fire we will begin to take the information from the caller to get an idea of the situation. Most of the time we verify the address is in Caroline county and then attempt to transfer the call back to them so they can get the additional information from the caller instead of us gathering the information and attempting to pass it along thru the phone or radio which I'll get to in a second. If we transfer it back and they pick up and process the call no big deal, however if they do not or it takes a large amount of rings to pass thru we will take pertinent information and disconnect with the caller.

The idea behind this system is that no one gets a busy signal, so even if a large event like a wreck is occurring but grandma who lives back in the woods 10 miles away is having chest pains she won't have to wait for someone to answer the call.

Now onto how we pass along information regarding calls. From my experience we primarily use 3 methods of getting information from one county to another, which are, but not limited to the ol' fashioned landline, the MESIN network (which is apparently in the process of being phased out) and the "Intercom". The phone is exactly what you think, we call, give the information and they dispatch. MESIN is of course used by the entire shore so we attempt to keep things short and sweet, usually just to verify cross streets or a call type. And then we have the UMDES IC or "Intercom" which from my knowledge is used primarily Kent and Queen Anne as a console-to-console, plain speech, system that's only used by Eastern Shore FiRST users, as I said Queen Anne and Kent are heavy users and I don't know if Caroline has access to it (I'm the only one from Talbot that I know of who uses it as we still prefer using MESIN).

So there you have it, we don't have any CAD to CAD setup or anything of that matter however we do have an MSAG in Talbot that includes Caroline and Queen Anne counties so I wouldn't put it out of mind that they are planning on transitioning to the same CAD we use at some point which would certainly make it interesting if they were to implement some sort of CAD transfer from county to county.

(Also sorry about the wall of text but I couldn't watch you all squirm trying to figure this out :) )
Thank you! Very informative!
 

maus92

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MESIN being phased out? That's an interesting tidbit. Any insights on what's behind it? I always thought these type of interoperability solutions were expensive, clunky and underutilized - although I imagine that FiRST absorbed or is co-located / using some of its infrastructure. Anyway, there are probably better ways to coordinate now that FiRST is complete, and other shore county systems are being upgraded.
 

troymail

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MESIN being phased out? That's an interesting tidbit. Any insights on what's behind it? I always thought these type of interoperability solutions were expensive, clunky and underutilized - although I imagine that FiRST absorbed or is co-located / using some of its infrastructure. Anyway, there are probably better ways to coordinate now that FiRST is complete, and other shore county systems are being upgraded.
I suspect (but have no idea for sure) that this kind of transition and phase out will occur over time. But remember, we're talking government - and across jurisdictions - so, as with anything in the government, it will take a while....
 
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