Brevard County E911 Administration History of 9-1-1

How Did 9-1-1 Become the Universal Emergency Number....

  • The first telephone call was a call for help. On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson, in different rooms, were about to try a new transmitter. Watson heard Bell's voice saying, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!" Bell had upset the acid of a battery over his clothes. The first telephone call became a part of history.
  • The idea of being able to dial a single (universal) number to report emergencies was first utilized in Great Britain, back in 1937. Citizens could dial the digits "9-9-9" and reach a central operator who would in turn dispatch law enforcement, fire, or ambulance as needed.
  • In developing similar systems, Belgium adopted "9-0-0", Denmark provided "0-0-0", and in Sweden the caller dials "80 000". Canada is currently developing a national system utilizing "9-1-1" and Japan has implemented "1-1-9" throughout their country.
  • The concept of a single number received at a central reporting agency has been well accepted and has proven in practice to be an effective component of the total emergency response mechanism in these countries.

Introduction in the United States....

  • The idea of a three-digit emergency number in the United States was the result of the urging of some concerned citizens and the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement in 1967. It was introduced to Congress and committees were formed to decide how to make the concept a reality.
  • First, the telephone companies had to find a three-digit number that was not being used anywhere in the United States or Canada as a central office exchange or an area code. Other considerations were that it should be easy to find on the telephone dial or easily dialed in the dark. The telephone industry decided on the digits "9-1-1".
  • The first 9-1-1 call was placed on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama.
  • At first, 'Basic 9-1-1' could only provide a voice connection to a predetermined emergency response agency. Callers knew that a call to 9-1-1 would connect them to the right people for emergency help, but the emergency responders did not have any information other than that provided by the caller. Still, Basic 9-1-1 was a big improvement in emergency services.
  • Later 'Enhanced 9-1-1' provided the caller's location information and telephone number via special computers and display screens. Enhanced 9-1-1 also provides features for selective routing and selective transfer of 9-1-1 calls to multiple emergency response jurisdictions.
  • Selective routing is really the essence of Enhanced 9-1-1. A Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) is developed, which lists street number ranges within an Emergency Service Zone (ESZ). The appropriate Police/Sheriff, Fire and Emergency Medical Service for each ESZ is identified and a unique Emergency Service Number (ESN) assigned. All 9-1-1 calls within that geographic area are sent to a pre-defined Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) responsible for handling calls in that area.

9-1-1 Operation in Brevard County

  • The Brevard County 9-1-1 System operates under the State Emergency Number Plan administered by the Florida State Division of Management Services. The State plan establishes the Board of County Commissioners in each County as the responsible fiscal agent. Therefore the responsibility and authority for 9-1-1 within a County ultimately rests with these bodies.
  • The Board of County Commissioners in many counties has designated a knowledgeable individual to act as the 9-1-1 coordinator. In Brevard County that position is the 9-1-1 Coordinator who administers the 9-1-1 system and oversees the Data Base Administrator and Wireless Coordinator.
  • The 9-1-1 Coordinator is responsible to the Board in ensuring that the County 9-1-1 System meets or exceeds the technical and operational standards of the State of Florida E 9-1-1 Plan.
  • The Brevard County 9-1-1 System is a fully enhanced 9-1-1 system provided by the local phone company as regulated by the Public Service Commission.
  • The service was initiated in Brevard County in 1982. The features of the system include selective routing of 9-1-1 calls to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), Automatic Number Identification (ANI), the delivery of the calling seven digit number along with the call, and the Automatic Location Information (ALI) which includes the name, address, type of phone, and the responding agencies responsible for the call which is also delivered with the call.
  • The cost of these services is determined by tariffs established by the Public Service Commission and it includes the maintenance of the ALI data base which is initially established from the telephone companies customer premise data base after checking against the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG).
  • System cost is for all maintenance and operation of the 9-1-1 system by the local telephone company and includes twenty four hour a day, seven day a week maintenance.
  • The Brevard County Emergency Number System includes the communities of Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbor Beach, Malabar, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village, Palm Bay, Palm Shores, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Titusville, and West Melbourne, as well as the unincorporated areas of the county.
  • In Brevard County, the 9-1-1 system is currently served by one phone company but allows for the delivery of cellular calls to the system. This will change as new phone companies, known as Alternate Local Exchange Carriers (ALECs) or Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), start up business in the county as a result of deregulation of local phone service in Florida.

General Duties and Responsibilities

The general responsibilities of the County 9-1-1 office include the technical and fiscal administration of the County 9-1-1 system. This includes:

  • Oversight of training for PSAP operators in various issues (such as operation of logging recorder equipment, T.D.D. (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) equipment, InterAct/Zetron call answering positions, and other equipment used in the PSAP environment)
  • Insuring PSAP equipment works properly and efficiently
  • Administering the monies collected from Local Option Fees in Brevard County and received from the State Wireless Board
  • Providing review of requests for funding from the 9 cities that have PSAPs, the County Public Safety Department, and the Sheriff's Office for compliance with the guidelines of F.S.S. 365.171
  • Evaluation of new equipment
  • Compilation of statistical records regarding 9-1-1 calls in Brevard County
  • Working with Address Assignment and G.I.S. personnel to provide for the accuracy of the 9-1-1 database
  • Planning for expansion and enhancement of the 9-1-1 system in Brevard County to reflect changing and updated technology
  • Various other duties as required.

The 9-1-1 Coordinator chairs the 9-1-1 Advisory Council, reporting to the Board of County Commissioners. This body regulates funding levels provided to the municipalities in consideration of the access line count, current population, and other factors. This body meets twice yearly unless otherwise requested to review the status of the County 9-1-1 system, examine funding levels, and make decisions on other major issues regarding Enhanced 9-1-1 management in Brevard County.

The responsibilities of the 9-1-1 Coordinator are:

  • Manage the Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System on a countywide basis.
  • Maintain a Liaison with the Florida Division of Management Services as per the Statewide 9-1-1 plan.
  • Develop planning and budget for 9-1-1 Administration.
  • Assist county agencies in the operation of the 9-1-1 System.
  • Monitor the ADA (Americans for Disabilities Act) guidelines pertaining to 9-1-1.
  • Oversee the County Database Coordinator, who maintains the 9-1-1 Database and Master Street Address Guide (MSAG).
  • Administer the interlocal agreement with municipalities operating Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).
  • Coordinate with BellSouth, the Local Exchange Carrier (LEC), and its service providers resolution of system problems and the administration of the Disaster Recovery Plan for 9-1-1 in Brevard County.
  • Participate in the development of System-wide guidelines and Standard Operation Procedures with the PSAP Administrators and Managers.
  • Oversee the Wireless Coordinator, providing for call routing and testing for Wireless Carriers and new Alternate Local Exchange Carriers (ALECs) and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs).
  • Assist Public Safety Answering Points with system enhancements, relocations as required, and provide technical information and resources concerning hardware and system issues as needed.

Additional Duties

Other major responsibilities of the County 9-1-1 office are as follows:

  • Manage the County's Integrated Communications Network (ICN). This is leased Fiber-Optic bandwidth from BellSouth (DS1) that provide the connectivity for the Sheriff's Public Safety Trunked Radio System, Voice Network, and Data circuits Countywide.
  • Manage the radio communications assets of the Board of County Commissioners on a day to day basis, providing technical support, purchase approval, and other related services as required. Provide licensing oversight for all Board radio systems with the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Function as required in the County's Emergency Support Function (ESF) #2 (Communications) program via the Emergency Management Office. Provide resource information and technical assistance as required to insure the continuity of the Board's Telecommunications resources on an emergency basis. Provide technical support to Emergency Management as necessary for the County's Emergency Alerting System (EAS) drop, the State SATCOM Earth Station, and the Federal NAWAS (National Warning System) drop at the County's Emergency Operations Center in Rockledge. During times of emergency, manage the operation of the Brevard Emergency Amateur Radio Service (Communications Volunteers) via ESF #2.