District of Columbia 911 service just got better. Unveiled on July 12, the new state-of-the-art Public Safety Communications Center (PSCC) brings police and fire emergency call-takers together under one roof with new technology to improve protection of DC residents. By housing call-takers and dispatchers in one building, and by using unified high-tech telephone and Computer-Aided Dispatch systems, police and fire public safety workers can respond to emergencies more rapidly and effectively.
The center, at 310 McMillan Drive, NW, combines 911 and 311 (non-emergency) services of the Metropolitan Police and Fire and Emergency Medical Services departments. The center caps a two-year effort to bring a formerly antiquated emergency-response system up to world-class standards.
"With the opening of this new Public Safety Communications Center, our government takes an important step forward in providing the type of high-quality 911 service that is critical to making our communities safer and more livable," said Mayor Anthony A Williams.
"The opening of the Public Safety Communications Center is not only a milestone in the continued enhancement of 911 service in the District, it is also an example of effective technology planning and systems integration," said DC's Chief Technology Officer Suzanne Peck. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) worked closely with the police and fire and emergency medical departments to install advanced equipment at the center.
Key improvements in service include a state-of-the-art telephone system, improved service for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, a unified computer-aided dispatch system, radio system support, enhanced call recording, and strict security. Call-takers and dispatchers handling stressful calls have access to "quiet rooms." The new center also includes an extensive training facility.