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How Do Sustema 911 Dispatch Consoles Adapt to the Realities of 911 Dispatchers?

Updated: Apr 9

Adapting to the realities of 911

911 dispatchers and call takers are under constant stress in the control room. As the first-first responders, they encounter people in the worst times of their lives, making their work invaluable.  Our goal is to help them get the job done by designing 911 dispatch consoles that can adapt to their ever-evolving needs. Sustema consoles are heavy-duty, have a smart technology focused design, and are ergonomic so that they adapt to the user and not the other way around.

1. Use all the monitors you need

CAD systems use up a lot of space (Monitor arms, Radio’s, UPS’s, multiple mice and keyboards, Speakers, CPU’s etc). CAD is integral to public safety operations, today’s CAD systems integrate with many, if not all, solutions already in place within a 911 dispatch center. 

Heavy-Duty 911 dispatch consoles with monitors mounted

In a lot of PSAPs the CAD system can use up to 7 or 8 screens because of all the tools dispatchers, call taker and supervisors need to have access at any given time. With this in mind, our consoles are built using only heavy-duty materials. Their steel substructure allows them to easily support the weight of several rows of monitors. This is because dispatchers and call takers do not rely only on their CAD system. They might have other 3rd party software tools open at the same time to complete their tasks. An example of this can be another map system that has more detailed information of the local area.

2. Create a clutter-free workstation, without distractions

Seconds save lives; therefore everything should have a proper place. (slat wall, CPU enclosures, personal storage, technology integration, height adjustability, focal adjustment, task light, status tower lighting). Dispatchers and call takers train to be able to jump from one task to the next with ease. For them to be effective at their job, it is crucial that their workspace is clutter-free.

Heavy duty 911 dispatch consoles with slat wall for organization

Meaning that every tool and piece of equipment has its proper place. To address this issue, Sustema consoles feature a slat wall to mount accessories and monitor arms off the surface.

911 dispatch console for emergency center with dual work surface

This allows operators to place all the tools they are not currently using on the slat wall, out of the way but easily accessible. As for personal items, important documents, and equipment that is not used frequently, our consoles feature cabinets that can be converted into personal storage. These can be lockable for added security.

3. The 911 center can get noisy sometimes

Noise complaints are also very common. Any Dispatcher and Call Taker can tell you that noise complaints inside a PSAP can be distracting to the operator and the caller. Sometimes it is very busy during peak times, there are many call takers engaged on the phone, or sometimes there aren’t that many calls, and you can even hear a pin drop. Regardless, noise is an issue for operators trying to focus. That is why Sustema consoles are designed to operate very quietly. For example, for operators who prefer to work standing for a while, they can easily change positions with the push of a button activating our very low noise system.

Height adjustable 911 dispatch console

The same thing can be said for the integrated heaters and fans operators can use to control the temperature at their workstation with very low white noise. Another option that Sustema offers are acoustic fabric panels that can absorb sound and create a reduced noise environment on an open concept floor.

911 dispatch console with integrated heater

4. It gets cold too

If there is one thing everybody can agree on, while inside a PSAP is that the center is not the right temperature. The dispatch center is kept slightly on the cool side so that most of the staff are comfortable while working long hours. Considering that dispatching and call taking are stressful jobs, keeping the workplace cool helps operators manage the stress. But, where does that leave the rest of the staff for whom it is too cold? To solve this issue, we integrated a personal environment system in our consoles creating a bubble of temperature for each user.

Cooling fans and personal environment system for 911 dispatch consoles

5. Every(body) counts

Monitor focal and height adjustments adapt for the 5% to 95% human percentile (height adjustments and monitor focal adjustments) In many PSAPs today, dispatchers and call takers sometimes perform both roles, especially for smaller counties and municipalities. For example, workstations assigned to neighbouring municipalities will be placed close to each other in the same building.

911 dispatch consoles designed to adapt for the 5% to 95% human percentile

Sustema consoles are designed with height adjustability in mind to account for a wide range of user sizes. Sometimes one shift will have a 5’2’’ user, then the next shift at the same console has a 6’3’’ user. The console must be perfectly comfortable for both. In addition to that, our consoles feature a focal adjustment monitor array so that operators can set their monitors at their preferred depth. All of this in addition to sturdy monitor arms to give the user as much flexibility as possible. This allows our own in-house designers to consider the full range of body sizes when designing your 911 dispatch center.

6. Floor layouts that encourage collaboration

Dispatch center layouts: The idea of one-size-fits-all floor layout that can be applied to all PSAP’s doesn’t exist. Every center is different, and each organization will have different needs, sightlines, egress, verbal communication, and theme requirements. But that doesn’t mean that some floor layouts are better suited for collaboration. For example, in a PSAP with an open pod configuration, operators are close enough to work together but also each one has their own corner of the room where they can focus. But that could lead to more “cross talk”, where one operator is hearing too much volume from another operator.

911 dispatch console layout

At Sustema we approach each dispatch centre on a case-by-case basis. We take into account the client's priorities, not ours, in designing the optimal dispatch center for them. Another benefit of our consoles is the integration of technology. 

911 dispatch console floor layout and design services

Being able to attach a status light, something that enhances communication and situational awareness of the supervisors is a big advantage in managing the dispatch floor. This can be taken even further by the implementation of our Console Alert solution that gives supervisors a comprehensive view of the floor and instantly notifies them which operator and where they are located needs assistance, saving valuable seconds in resolving an issue. 


Let your workstation adapt to your needs, not the other way around

To summarize, Sustema consoles are designed and built to endure 24/7, 365 days a year a use. In a mission critical environment where seconds save lives, 911 dispatchers and call takers can rely on Sustema Dispatch Consoles to meet their needs and requirements throughout their shift. Whether it be standing, sitting down, being warmed up or cooled down, or asking supervisors for assistance. Sustema Consoles support the user so that the user can be 100% engaged in supporting the caller.

911 dispatch consoles with custom design choices

If you are building a new 911 dispatch center but don't know where to start, chat with us through our website. Or, if you prefer you fill out a form and member of our team will gladly reach out to help you get started. 



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