Backup call center prepared for tests

Dec. 26, 2012 @ 05:29 PM

The new year will bring a busy month-long testing phase for the E-911 backup center at the Beckford Drive city operations building, on schedule to start tweaking complex integrated systems in mid-January.

Vance County Emergency Operations Director Brian Short said through the test phase, the primary center will continue normal call volume capabilities.

“For the most part, all of the mission-essential components are ready,” Short said. “We will have a roughly 30-day shakedown of the system, handling such things as volume levels and making technical adjustments. This will give us a chance to tweak the system.”

Short said testing and making small changes will likely involve solving small problems, but none of those discovered difficulties should hinder the everyday dispatch work as it is done in real time.

“During the shakedown period, we will be occupying both centers,” he said. “Testing everything in real-world situations is vital.”

According to Short, a full crew will work the main center located at the Vance County Courthouse complex on Church Street.

One or two dispatchers will be handling calls to 911 at the backup center.

The basic elements for working the backup center are in place, with each of three primary systems ready or nearly ready to work at the same full capacity as the main center.

Short said the center will integrate those systems into a single working unit: phone, radio and the computer assisted dispatch, with all programming applications also working together.

“The phone system is complete, most of the CAD system is complete and most of the radio system also,” Short said. “All that is left to do is integration of some key systems. There is data that is shared between those systems.”

Staying on schedule could be impacted by some work that is needed for the backup center’s secondary systems, but Short does not anticipate that will be the case.

“We will be getting some secondary support systems online, and then we will be completely functional,” Short said. “For those systems, we are at the mercy of some vendor schedules, but there is no reason to believe we will not be occupying that space at some point in the month of January as planned.”

Secondary systems include a computerized direct feed for weather monitoring and a card-key security system for employee access to the center.

Short said a backup center dedication is expected in February soon after the testing work concludes.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.