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PSAP Consolidation Process Explained

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

The demand for better and faster emergency services and the increased development in communication technologies has urged governments agencies such as 911 public safety agencies to consider the benefits of consolidation for the communities. 

By definition, PSAP consolidation refers to merging the resources of two or more public safety agencies to form one single and stronger organization. 

While cost savings for each jurisdiction is one of the major benefits of consolidating multiple PSAPs, the return on investment of such a project will only materialize until several years later due to the high start-up costs. Therefore, the focus should be geared towards improving the service level by streamlining the technology and training process. Consolidation will result in faster communication and make it easier to pool funds to keep the 911 call center updated. The principal consolidation models include a full, partial, co-location and hybrid PSAP merger. 

PSAP Consolidation Process

The consolidation of a 911 dispatch center is a complex process that requires collaboration between multiple stakeholders. The following list describes the major steps required to make the transition based on past projects: 

  1. Leadership: PSAP consolidation is very similar to mergers seen in the corporate world. All too often we see successful companies fail to collaborate due to the discrepancy between their corporate cultures. For this reason, it is important to consider the way of working from the PSAPs and plan how to manage the consolidation to create a new culture in the organization. The leader will be someone with past experience and high commitment from the beginning to the end of the project. 

  2. Stakeholders: Key decision-makers and principal stakeholders will need to meet and discuss the potential benefits of combining resources to bring the project further. If enough interest and belief in the success of the consolidation project exist, a preliminary feasibility study will serve to formalize the requirements. 

  3. Analysis: A thorough feasibility study will first examine the current issues of the 911 dispatch center. Major issues often involve PSAP design, staffing, call processing, budget allocation, equipment, and software. The goal of the study is to find if consolidation makes sense from a service and financial standpoint but also provides recommendations for the issues mentioned previously. 

  4. Planning: At this phase, the needs of the facility are listed and planning for procurement begins. A detailed report identifying key participants, funding requirements, HR, and governance structure is prepared to guide the project. 

  5. Implementation: The PSAP slowly starts to take shape with facilities being constructed or renovated. The dispatch furniture is ordered and installed, hardware and software tools are updated, and training for call takers/dispatchers working in the new facility begins. 

  6. Post-Consolidation: Not surprisingly, after the PSAP is up and running some issues will certainly arise both at the human and technology level. Therefore, it is important to have evaluation controls in place to quickly identify and resolve these issues. 

PSAP Furniture Consoles

Acquiring new dispatch furniture and consoles is often necessary when consolidating the PSAP in order to make the most of the space in the new facility. Dispatch consoles are ergonomically designed to accommodate PSAP call-takers and dispatchers to perform their work. Dispatch consoles are built to support multiple monitors, keyboards and mice, radio console and other equipment. Console manufacturers also integrate cable management systems to provide easy access to power and network. Sustema’s Transit Series C-300 consoles are equipped to hold task lights, heaters, fans, and an alerting system to help reduce fatigue and eyestrain of dispatchers. In conclusion, even though consolidating a PSAP is a complex and lengthy process, the benefits can be substantial increasing service levels, retention rates, and safety in the workplace.

About Sustema

Sustema specializes in the design and manufacturing of 911 dispatch consoles. Contact us to request a free quote for your PSAP consolidation project.


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