Formed in 1837, Eaton County, Michigan is home to approximately 110,000 people across the county’s 10 local communities. The Eaton County government provides a host of county services including a central dispatch for emergency services, which employs 25 people. Eaton County Central Dispatch (ECCD) answers all 9-1-1 calls in the county, and handles dispatch for the county’s 14 fire departments, eight law enforcement agencies, and six emergency medical services agencies. ECCD fielded more than 94,000 calls for police, medical, and fire services.
The ECCD building is located in a rural area, with no cellular towers in close proximity. The basement-level training room was updated to serve as the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the event of a large scale emergency or threat. The room is equipped with monitors, telephone lines, and data connections. The building’s solid construction was designed to withstand a tornado – but lacked cellular connectivity.
As one of the early adopters of FirstNet, a dedicated broadband network for public safety communications, ECCD needed a solution that could provide FirstNet coverage over FirstNet-compatible devices in the EOC to enable mission-critical public safety communications – such as communicating with emergency personnel and hospital staff – as well as redundancy in case the landlines weren’t working.
“It is critical for us to maintain communication with our public safety partners on the ground in the event of an emergency so that we can dispatch the appropriate resources,” says Michael Armitage, Central Dispatch Director at ECCD.