Stanly E-911 Project Gallery          

Not the largest 9-1-1 center in the US, just the best!  Since the inception of E-911 in Stanly County North Carolina in 1994, there have been three different center designs.  The first design was used from March of 1994 through August of 1999.


Phase I

The following photos are of the configuration used from 03-94 until 08-99.

(Place cursor over photo for description, click on a photo to enlarge)  

The Phase I design went online live in March of 1994.  There were three positions and two were manned at all times initially with three during peak hours.  This initial design was honored by a design award.  The CAD was VISION DOS based software and Stanly County served as a Beta Test Site for Vision at that time.  The radios were Zetron and were refurbished by Zetron to be safely held over beyond 1999 and into the Phase II design.  The phones were by Plant.  Notice the huge audio tape logger in the far corner of the photo on the left.  Swelling call volume and the threat of the much feared Y-2K bug (which failed to really be that much of a problem) prompted a redesign to go online in 1999 increasing available dispatch positions. 


Phase II

                       The following photos are of the configuration used from 08-99 until 05-03.

                               (Place cursor over photo for description, click on a photo to enlarge)                             

 

Phase II was set up for four identical consoles, of which three were manned over 80% of the time until call volume escalated to the point where three positions had to be manned at all times.  The fourth position was used for peak times and significant events such as storm periods.  The configuration of each console is Zetron radios in Motorola racks in the left two panels.  Two CAD screens utilizing OSSI CAD, Mapping, Aerial Photos and NCIC terminal interface, A CAD keyboard up front and a TDD keyboard to the rear of the CAD keyboard in the center.  The right single panel rack houses the Plant PSAP telephone terminal and E-911 display module above the telephone terminal.  The center cabinetry and desktop were designed and constructed locally by a local cabinet maker and integrated quite well with the Motorola racks.    This is truly a one of a kind design which functioned well.  A large round  lazy-Susan bookcase sat in the middle of the room where resource binders could be easily reached as each console was arranged so the telecommunicator's back was to the center of the room. 

This open design layout was very popular with the personnel when it came to communicating with one another in the center.  However, it was a disadvantage during extremely busy periods as the noise from all the radios could get to be a problem.

Three of these consoles and all associated furniture and equipment pictured above have been installed in a new back-up center located in the basement of the nearby Stanly Memorial Hospital which is fully operational as a 911 center.  In the event the main Stanly County E-911 Center in the basement of the county courthouse ever had to be evacuated for any reason, this back-up facility will be manned and online within minutes as all radios and phones (except the 911 trunks) will be "hot" and online ready for use with no extraordinary measures required.   The 911 trunks require switching by Bell-South which should be completed in the travel time for the telecommunicators to reach the back-up location.  The hospital site is connected to the hospital's massive power plant which can provide electricity to the entire hospital.  A rough estimate of time to close down the main center and relocate to the new center is 10 to 15 minutes including travel time.  If the evacuation situation allowed for a staggered evacuation with one person staying behind until the back-up center is manned and the 9-1-1 lines switched over, there would be no interruption of service whatsoever.  The system network is NT based on two mirrored IBM servers.  


    Phase III

In 2003 the Stanly County 911 Center answered approximately 300,000 telephone calls which resulted in just under 99,000 events being entered into the CAD record system.

A tour of the center in the Stanly County Courthouse in Albemarle NC can be arranged by contacting 704-986-3700. 

The following are photos of the Stanly County 911 Center in the current configuration which was completed in May of 2003.  As you can see it is quite different!  There are now five work stations on the dispatch floor.  Details follow the photos.

                                                 (Place cursor over photo for description, click on a photo to enlarge)         

 

There are now five positions, of which three are manned 24 hours and one additional may be manned by the communications supervisor during office hours.  This still leaves one position open for training use or manning during rare disasters.  Here an ice storm is a disaster, so are tornados.  The furniture is from Watson.  Each works station raises from seated to stand-up configuration with the push of a button.  Also the main keyboard trays have motors to raise and lower separately from the main desktop and there is a keyboard tilt feature also.  Overhead lighting was turned on for these photos but is usually off with just the work station lamps and overhead track/spotlighting used.

The white boxes that look like speakers are actually personal fans so you can cool down when it gets really busy.  There is also a heater panel visible far back under the console which are foot-warmers.  They are best visible with the work station raised to the stand-up position HERE

At each console, the two outer monitors are swing-arm-mounted ELO touch screen monitors.  The far left touch screen monitor is the Motorola radio control.  The far right touch screen monitor is for the CML 911 telephone system. 

The two inner monitors at each station are the OSSI CAD system, now SQL based, but with the same NCIC access, aerial photos and mapping capabilities introduced during Phase II.  Each station also has the very handy HINDSIGHT audio logger playback capability at each terminal.  With HINDSIGHT any position can playback a digital recording of any telephone or radio audio source.   

Also as part of this upgrade two additional administrative phone lines were added to relieve congestion on the non-emergency incoming lines.  In addition we have access to a Nextel base station and weather satellite and other video data in the center.  In the shift supervisor's office is a satellite telephone and an amateur radio (Ham) base station equipped with packet communication software for emergencies that might disrupt telephone traffic into and out of the county as happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo when you could call about anywhere within the county but long distance phone calls would not go through due to damaged long distance trunks and related telephone company systems.

XP Professional powers the CAD computers.  Windows 2000 runs the radio/phone computers.  The new mirrored redundant servers again are IBM, the CAD workstations are IBM, the CML/Motorola workstations are Compaq. 

This is the last refurnishing the center anticipates for at least the next ten years or perhaps even longer.  Software and computer hardware will of course be updated as required, and we will need new chairs now and then, but there simply is no more room to add any more positions to the center.  When call volume grows to the point where more positions have to be added, the center will have to either be expanded into areas now used for other purposes or relocated.  It was quite a challenge to design five work stations to fit into the space available.  When all five are in use, it is very crowded at position one, two and three.  By the way, speaking of chairs, the chairs we use are RECARO automotive bucket seats with armrests attached.  These are pretty much like seats in a Chevrolet Corvette or in a Nascar race car.  They have been proven to be extremely durable and comfortable, so they were happily carried over from Phase II. 

Ever since the center went online in 1994, there has always been a large ground level propane powered emergency generator capable of powering the entire center, including the center's heating and air which is separate from the rest of the building's systems.  In the few moments it takes the generator to come online, there is a massive Liebert UPS system to power all the computers with battery powered emergency lighting overhead.  In fact all the radios and computers are running off the UPS all the time. 

This design added privacy panels in between the two groups of work stations.  It eliminated the wide open "Mission Control" look from Phase II and improved acoustics due to the padding and fabric on the panels.  This design looks more like an office environment.  It also added cabinets with drawers which we never had before.  Unfortunately, the lazy-Susan had to go.  There wasn't room for it in the new design.  Binders previously stored there are now stored in bookcases along the wall and two copies of frequently accessed binders were made so one copy could be kept on each side of the two clusters of workstations.

The data received on a cell phone call to Stanly County 911 now includes latitude and longitude capability.  At this time we are receiving this location information for the tower being hit by the cell phone.  In the very near future, we will be getting latitude and longitude information for the actual location of the cell phone making the call.  Our equipment and mapping software is compliant to this technology and we await the cell carriers to catch up.  We anticipate only a brief delay before the cell companies finish the upgrades on their equipment.   

Two troubles we've encountered in the Phase III setup have given us some grief. 

First:  All the positions were not set up with the radio speaker units on the same side.  Some positions had them on the left and some had them on the right.  After years of working with them all on the left during Phase I and Phase II, some people just didn't like having the radio audio on the right.  This was not caught until after the rebuild was completed.  This flaw is most clearly visible when you click HERE.  (You see Terry's radio on her right, and just to the right of her radio is some 3-ring binders and then you see the radio for the work station position just to the right of the binders.  That means the person sitting on Terry's right will have their radio on their left, while Terry's radio is on her right.  It works, it just isn't a uniform setup so you can't say that all positions are identical.)   

Second:  The halogen bulbs in the desk lamps provided in the design get extremely hot.  It is possible to accidentally get one of these lamps directly over the ELO touch screen monitors.  If the lamp bulb touches the plastic casing for these $2000 monitors, it means a meltdown.  Click HERE to see the ugly outcome of this boo-boo.  With a lamp turned on and over the monitor, if you then raise the desk you will be melting the top of the monitor.  This could also happen if the lamp is bumped or moved accidentally and you didn't notice it until you smelled something burning.  We have had the tops of two monitors melted so far.  One was damaged almost immediately after going on line.  The second shortly thereafter.  The first one which was damaged was then re-damaged even more severely by a radio repair technician in a third incident.  As a testament to ELO, even with the severe damage shown in the photo, the monitors still worked perfectly even though the cases were quite obviously damaged.  The ELO monitors are a great product!  They were repaired (at center expense) by the ELO service center in Greensboro, NC.  The plastic case parts had to come from Asia and it took over three months just to get the parts to Greensboro.