The Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is responsible for receiving and dispatching all fire, medical and rescue calls within the 8,000 square miles of Kern County. ECC receives transferred calls from 21 different law enforcement agencies and gives calls to 7 different private ambulance companies. Our annual call volume entered is approximately 86,000 calls.
ECC’s current staffing includes 15 full time dispatchers, 5 supervisors, 1 manager & 1 duty officer. During fire season 2 additional extra-help positions were added to assist with the wildland resource ordering. Our daily staffing consists of 1 supervisor and 3 dispatchers per shift. Each rotation also has 1 dispatcher to work a swing shift to provide additional coverage during our 12 busiest hours.
All calls requiring medical aid or ambulance dispatch are put through the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols. This protocol insures that all medically related calls will be processed the same way and the appropriate response sent on every call. It also requires dispatchers to remain on the line for life threatening emergencies and give appropriate pre-arrival instructions to the caller. Dispatchers can give instructions in CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver and childbirth. Stellar performances by our dispatchers have resulted in 8 babies born with our assistance and 24 CPR saves so far this year.
ECC is also recognized as an Accredited Center of Excellence by the National Academy. We were the 10th center in California and the 77th in the world to achieve this recognition. This is the result of an intensive Quality Improvement program in which 3% of each dispatcher’s calls are reviewed to insure compliance with the protocol. At present our center is performing at 97.90% compliance with Academy procedures. 95% compliance is required to maintain our Accreditation. This program is also used to identify areas where further training is warranted and to constantly adjust our training program to best serve our employees. ECC dispatchers take over 5,000 EMD calls each month.
Wildland fire dispatching is a large part of our operations during Fire Season. ECC uses ROSS (Resource Ordering and Status System) to ensure that our responders receive the needed resources to fight wildland fires, from engines, bull dozers, hand crews and aircraft.