Category Archives: Local Articles

For those of you who don’t know me I am Dianne Fuller. I currently hold the position of 911 Supervisor. I was promoted to 911 Supervisor in May of 2004. Prior to being promoted I was a Shift Leader from 1997 thru 2004. Before that I was a dispatcher from 1990-1997.

When I first started at the 911 Center in May of 1990 it was located in the old jail which is behind the Courthouse on Chancery Lane and Center St. We had a very small room which also had a small bathroom in the corner.  We had to be buzzed in by the jail guards. Then we went thru the kitchen to get to the radio room. The operator already on duty had to unlock the door and once you were inside it was locked again. You never had to leave the room for anything. There was a refrigerator and microwave in the room to use for meals you brought with you. The inmates were on the other side of the wall on the one side and the kitchen was on the other side. The other side had windows with bars on them that looked at the back of the courthouse. It was a very depressing atmosphere. Essentially you were in jail too and had never committed a crime.

There was one dispatcher on duty at all times. If you had to use the bathroom you ran around the corner of the desk into the bathroom. You had to leave the door open so you could hear the radios. You did your business as fast as you could to get back out to answer the phones and radios. Praying the whole time that no one called you!

The phone was a push button that you dialed a seven digit number for everyone you needed to talk to. We had no speed dials. There was no 911. If you had an emergency you dialed 724-2545. We answered County Control. There was no screen that popped up on the computer giving us the name, number and address of the caller. We would gather the information and go to the maps to determine where the caller was and dispatch the department that covered that area. There were many departments that we were unable to dispatch and had to call either another agency or a private citizen to dispatch.

We had 3 low band frequencies which were Fire 1 33.98, Fire 2 33.96 which was called Tac 2. The other low band frequency was police which was 45.10. We also had Med 9, Med 6 and Med 10 East. We also had Meadville Fire which was Department 16’s frequency.

County geography was extremely important. There was no CAD to recommend a department for dispatch.  Therefore you had to know coverage areas and geography.

Late in 1991 we moved to the current location in the Courthouse. We had more room and administrative offices in the same area. We had secure doors and didn’t have to deal with being let in by the jail guards or inmates. We had a small kitchen area with space to store items that were used on a daily basis.

At that time we also added a second dispatcher on duty at all times. This was due to an increase in call volume.

In 1993 we upgraded the old console with two new Motorola Centracom Series II furniture style Consoles. They were state of the art technology and very impressive with the sheer size of them.  They had lots of bright lights to let us know which frequency we were talking on or listening to.  This was a huge advancement that also allowed us to talk on many channels at the same time which helped when we began our switch from low band to the current UHF channels.   At that time the initial 911 addressing and mapping project was going on. Trying to address all the structures in Crawford County was quite a project. Once the addressing was completed we then upgraded our phone equipment with computerized call taking equipment, giving us the ability to receive the caller’s phone number and address when they dialed 911.

In 2002 we also added InterAct CAD system to our center. The enabled the phone equipment to send information over to the CAD and computerize all our dispatch records. We no longer had incident cards that we recorded information on.

Around the same time we became Phase 2 compliant which means that we could see the location of cellular calls that were coming into the 911 Center on a computerized map. There was a huge amount of technology and testing that went into making this project a success.

Since then there have been various upgrades to all of our equipment. Including new radio consoles that are all computerized and take up a lot less space than the old radio consoles.

Currently we still have many projects going on which will be the topic of future articles. In looking back over the past 22 years since I started it amazes me how far technology has come. How advanced our small 911 Center has become and the increase in call volume that the dispatchers handle

StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, Oklahoma by the National Weather Service (NWS), helps arm America’s communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property–before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.   StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.  No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.  The certification is good for three years and then must be renewed by maintaining the same requirements that is in the initial application.  Crawford County was first awarded its StormReady Community Certification in December 2007 by NWS Forecast Office in Cleveland, Ohio and was renewed December 2009.

 

Based on the size of the population served, there are six guidelines with twelve requirements to meet to receive the StormReady Community designation.  Some of the requirements are to conduct public education regarding severe weather preparedness, promote NWS Skywarn Spotters Course in the County, having a weather plan, have four ways of receiving weather alerts, and four ways to disseminate the alerts to the public.  In December a group of Amateur Radio Operators from the Crawford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) took a tour of NWS Forecast Office in Cleveland, Ohio with Crawford County Emergency Management Director and Operations & Training Officer, which is another requirement of the program.  For more information on how businesses, schools, municipalities, and neighborhoods can be StormReady go to:  www.stormready.noaa.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo L to R or CARS 2013 Officers:  Rich Borchilo, Jamie Tolbert,  Barry Capell, and Jim Cihon

 

 

Sincerely,

Allen W. Clark, Director

Emergency Management Agency

Crawford County Office of Emergency Services

What is the difference between a 911 address and a mailing address?  Unless you have a post office box, then nothing.  Your 911 address and your mailing address should be the same address.  Even if you do not receive mail at your home (such as a seasonal home), it’s still important to know your 911 address.

The post office used to have rural routes all over Crawford County, after 1995/96 when 911 addressing was assigned, they adopted the 911 addresses for use with the mail.  So unless you use a post office mailbox, your 911 address serves a dual purpose as a mailing address as well.

In the event of an emergency, you should call 911.  The first question they will ask you is, “what is the address of your emergency”.  This is important to locate you among all of the other homes/businesses in the county.  For example, there is a variation of “Main St” in 15 out of the 51 municipalities in Crawford County.  So the address number, road name, and municipality will also be requested when you call 911.

The next step, is locating you on a map, when the dispatcher enters this information into the CAD (Computer aided dispatch) system, it will plot your 911 address on the map.  If you give a bad 911 address, it will take the dispatcher additional time to locate you before they can send help!

Once you are located, the dispatcher on the phone will continue to give/receive information with you, and then another dispatcher will begin contacting emergency services over the radio to assist you.  This is another important step in a quick response.

Posting your 911 address is very important for the fire/ems/rescue/police field responders to find you.  As many of you are aware, GPS units are useful in getting near a location, but they are not always 100% accurate.  By posting your 911 address, you will be able to provide the field responders a confirmation that they are at the correct house.  Please check with your local municipality for requirements on 911 address posting.  Be sure when you post your 911 address it’s clear and concise!  If your mailbox has the number on it, but it’s with a group of other mailboxes, it can be difficult to identify the correct home, unless it’s also posted at the building as well.

Addresses are generally assigned for the numbers to grow larger as the road travels east or north.  Additionally, odd numbers should be on the opposite side of the road from the even numbers.  These standards also help field responders find your location in the event of an emergency.  If you are unsure about your 911 address, or if you believe it to be incorrect, based on the ones around you, please contact the 911 addressing office at 814-724-2562 or gisaddressing@co.crawford.pa.us immediately for assistance.

Your address can also be located, with much more information as well, at our interactive website:

www.crawfordcountypa.net/gis