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Combating Dispatch Center Shortages During Mass Emergencies

Combating Dispatch Center Shortages During Mass Emergencies

During mass emergencies, such as natural disasters, 911 call centers and other emergency dispatch centers can become limited in resources and can only help so many people. Learn how Kings III works to withstand this phenomenon.

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When considering safety on your property, there are many variables to prepare for.

Think of some of your more vulnerable property areas:

With pools, concerns of access, supervision, and the reliable means to call for help in case of a drowning, slip and fall or even conflict and confrontation comes to mind.

Regarding elevators, a way to reach out in the event of an entrapment or medical emergency is imperative.

On campuses, in parking areas and building exteriors, security monitoring is important, including a way to contact emergency services in the event of a crime or accident.

Stairwells might be the only means of escape during a building fire or active shooter incident and are often used as areas of refuge during a natural disaster. Falls are common on stairs as well, with injuries often limiting mobility.

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The concerns mentioned above are just a few of the reasons why Kings III’s emergency phone systems are not only invaluable and lifesaving, but necessary to ensure that help can be reached in times of trouble. Cell phones cannot always be counted on. The limitations of battery life and signal can render them useless just when they are needed the most. With our service, a live operator is available to take the call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even more importantly, 911 centers are not always as reliable as we’d like them to be when tenant safety is on the line. What’s one cause for this? Understaffing. So, what happens when disaster strikes on a wide scale?

Mass casualty incidents

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

[…] a mass casualty incident [MCI] is defined as an event which generates more patients at one time than locally available resources can manage using routine procedures. It requires exceptional emergency arrangements and additional or extraordinary assistance.

These are events that are of a scope that goes beyond what the staffing of local emergency agencies and responders are equipped to handle on their own. They can be caused by natural disasters, accidents involving various forms of public transportation and even bombings or shootings.

When anything involving a high number of victims occurs, multiple departments and jurisdictions must come together, and a command center must be established to manage situations of this magnitude. Triaging and delegating resources are essential to ensure things run as smoothly as possible and that patients are cared for by order of severity.

Kings III call volumes

As with personnel levels of any emergency entity, a limited number of Kings III operators are on shift at any given time. The staffing of our Emergency Dispatch Center (EDC) is set to accommodate our high volume of daily calls (Kings III handled 1,215,905 elevator, pool, and area of refuge calls in 2017 alone) and then some. On top of the emergency calls received involving elevator entrapments, dangerous situations, and medical emergencies, we also handle a high number of calls from properties performing their required monthly phone tests. As there are no limits to how frequently our phones can be tested, some properties opt to test their phones even more frequently. We ensure that enough operators are on shift to handle any sort of call in a timely manner.

Even with all our preparation, we are not always immune: outlying circumstances can and have pushed our call volume beyond what operators on shift can handle. Much like other emergency responders, we have experienced times that required additional assistance. Sudden and severe storms can cause flooding and power outages which lead to multiple elevator entrapments at once, not just in one building, but city-wide. However, much like other emergency agencies that must call on other departments for assistance during MCI’s, Kings III has the needed precautionary measures in place along with necessary additional resources in times of call center saturation.

Additional resources- the power is in our people

Kings III has a long history and propensity of promoting from within. Most every department has someone that once worked as an emergency operator. Being that our dispatch center is housed in our corporate headquarters, call-taking assistance is just a matter of calling another department that is just one room away, during normal business hours.

But what about after hours? Our EDC shift supervisors and management staff are on call 24/7. One phone call brings additional resources inbound to ensure our level of service matches our high standards and the severity of the various emergency situations we encounter.

We plan ahead for these instances as often as we can. In the event of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, we monitor the weather to obtain a timeline for landfall and overstaff for the projected call time.

Unfortunately, disaster on a large scale- while uncommon- can occur. With nearly three decades in the emergency communications industry, Kings III has run into and handled such experiences. We understand the severity of these situations and have the additional resources mentioned above to help ensure that we are able to combat oversaturation when it takes place.

To find out more about our Emergency Dispatch Center, visit our FAQ page. Click here to gain an inside look from the perspective of our operators, and be sure to contact us to learn why Kings III’s emergency phone systems are the right safety solution for your property.

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