|COMMAND AND CONTROL DIVISION|
In 1989, the Department hired civilian dispatchers with public safety telecommunications skills to begin the transition from uniformed to civilian staffing. At the time, the Department operated from three communications centers – one in Los Angeles, one in the San Gabriel Valley, and a third in the Antelope Valley. In early 1991, a state of the art Fire Command and Control Facility (FCCF) was constructed, and personnel from all three centers unified in one central location at Department headquarters to perform the essential and critical functions required of dispatchers. The Facility is Facility built on "base isolators" to minimize any damage from any earthquakes. Back up power is maintained at all times by two diesel generators in addition to an uninterrupted power supply.
Today, the Fire Command and Control Division, better known as “Dispatch,” is one of two divisions within the Department’s Special Operations Bureau, and is commanded by an Assistant Fire Chief. The Dispatch team is managed by three shifts of battalion chiefs and captains, plus 13 supervising fire dispatchers, four fire dispatch specialists (coordinators assigned to Training, Quality Improvement, Geo-file, and Radio Inventory), and 74 dispatchers who serve as the first point of contact each day when members of the public dial 9-1-1 for help. Last year, more than 450,000 phone calls were received at the Center, including a daily total of over 650 incidents, or 260,000 annually. It is considered to be one of the busiest centers in the nation.
Fire Command and Control dispatchers receive calls from throughout Los Angeles County's borders, including 59 contract cities, all unincorporated areas, and the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests. Calls are received through the 9-1-1 telephone system, local area 7-digit emergency numbers, “ring-down” lines from other agencies, and/or by radio from units in the field. The Center’s minimum staffing consists of two supervisors and 12 dispatchers, with maximums of three supervisors and 19 dispatchers to handle the 1,400 phone calls received daily.
In addition to the routine activities performed from the Center, the Division is also responsible to serve as the Region I Emergency Coordination Center (E.C.C.) as part of the State of California’s Office of Emergency Services. Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman serves as the Region I Coordinator and, as such, provides resource allocation coordination under the California Master Mutual-Aid Plan for the five counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange, and Los Angeles.
Using a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, 9-1-1 emergency calls for service are processed in a “horizontal dispatch” method. The dispatch call-taker enters the request for service after receiving the necessary information. After the incident is entered for dispatch, following a set of Department protocols, the call-taker provides pre-arrival instructions for the victim as required for those requiring medical assistance. Simultaneously, the request/call is electronically sent to a “Dispatch Point,” where units are actually assigned, and the call is routed to a one of several geographical Tactical Radio Operators (TRO). All voice traffic between field units and dispatch is conducted on the TRO channel. The “Dispatch Point” is from dispatch to field units ONLY. No units are permitted to conduct radio traffic on this frequency to ensure that all calls are dispatched without delay.
Command and Control Facts
Emergency or Service calls actually dispatched each month wherein a Fire Department unit is sent: 25,000 plus incidents
Activity levels require constant staffing of dispatchers on Duty between 14 and 20 at all times.
Receiving 9-1-1 Calls from 39 PRIMARY PSAPS (Law Enforcement Dispatch):