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Chatham’s 9-1-1 center earns top award and nationwide certification

Posted Monday, April 20, 2015

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Pittsboro, NC - Chatham County’s 9-1-1 Communications Center has successfully implemented new emergency response programs that have resulted in international accreditation and an award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center will be recognized in late April at a national conference.

“We are one of just 199 emergency call centers in the entire world, not just the United States, to earn accreditation from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED),” said Emergency Management Director Janet Scott. “What this means for Chatham residents is that our communicators are prepared to do more than tell callers that help is on the way. We can give them recommended actions to take until emergency responders arrive.”

County Manager Charlie Horne said, “This is a tremendous achievement that can save lives, limit injuries and reduce property damage. Only seven other entities in the state have been accredited, and most of these are in urban areas with bigger training budgets. We are very proud of all 9-1-1 center employees.”

To qualify as a Certified Medical Dispatch Accredited Center through IAED, Chatham County’s 9-1-1 Center had to successfully implement two major response protocols. Emergency Medical Dispatch was implemented several years ago and Emergency Fire Dispatch was implemented a few months ago.

At the same time that the Chatham’s 9-1-1 Center will be recognized for its accreditation, it also will receive an award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for successfully implementing specific protocols when these types of issues are reported.

“We don’t like to think that bad things can happen to children in Chatham County, but they happen everywhere,” said Scott. “They can be highly emotional situations with impacts on entire families and communities.”

Scott said that the protocol training means that they are better able to know the best steps to take when children are in harm’s way. “For example, a suspected teen runaway may require a different response and different agencies than a child abduction or abuse report,” Scott said.

The accreditation process and the partnership with NCMEC both require dozens of hours of advance training and on-going continuing education. “We also monitor and review calls as part of the quality assurance requirements to see what we could do better next time. Meeting these requirements without hesitation shows the commitment of our telecommunicators to being the best at what they do.”

 
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