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Pennsylvania's Chester County Moves to Fully Integrated Text-to-9-1-1 Solution
Chester County Department of Emergency Services adopts VESTA® SMS to improve dispatching for the county’s 121 independent emergency departments
Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) is completing the transition to a new text-to-9-1-1 system - the VESTA® SMS application - that fully integrates emergency messages into calltakers’ VESTA® 9-1-1 workstations, speeding response times and accuracy. The VESTA 9-1-1 and VESTA SMS systems are part of the industry leading VESTA® solutions suite of Airbus DS Communications, an entity of Airbus Defense and Space.
Part of the Philadelphia urban area, Chester County has a population of more than 500,000 and is the fastest growing in the state. Its unified Chester County DES receives more than 300,000 9-1-1 calls and dispatches emergency first responders more than 380,000 times each year.
“Chester County DES was using a web-based text-to-9-1-1 system but the public’s embrace of the capability encouraged us to adopt a more full-featured solution,” said John Haynes, Deputy Director for 9-1-1. “Some call centers see misuse of text-to-9-1-1 - reporting casual non-emergencies or use of extreme abbreviations - but Chester County residents have used the new tool judiciously and thoughtfully. So, we’re outfitting our call centers with the best text-to-9-1-1 solution on the market to build on that success.”
Chester County’s emergency responder departments are not county run. As a result, Chester County DES is responsible for dispatching first responders from 44 police departments, 54 fire departments and 23 EMS departments - all of which are independently run. Chester County DES also answers calls for one borough and two state police barracks that coordinate their own law enforcement dispatching.
“Because of how our emergency services are structured, speed and accuracy are of the highest importance. The VESTA SMS solution puts text calls for help within the same screens and processes as a voice call. This makes response seamless and easy for our calltakers,” said Haynes.
Chester County DES is comprised of 22 calltaking positions at its primary facility. A back-up site has 18 positions that can work in unison with or completely independently from the primary call center, creating a more robust 9-1-1 system to respond to largescale emergencies.
“The attitude of the calltakers and leadership at Chester County DES represent the heart of the public safety industry,” said Bob Freinberg, CEO of Airbus DS Communications. “They recognize the challenge of providing excellent text-to-9-1-1 service to the people of Chester County, particularly to the hard of hearing community, as their responsibility - and they do it with pride. We’re honored to be part of their team.”
For more information on Airbus DS Communications and its portfolio of public safety solutions, visit www.airbus-dscomm.com.
- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via Airbus DS Communications, 10/18/16)