PHOENIX – July 25, 2015 – With their recent acquisition of the high-tech, the metro Saint Paul fire departments in Ramsey County, Minnesota, have gained the advantage of significantly speeding up the critical dispatch-notification process and response times for fire and emergency calls. The new Phoenix G2 system is leading edge, automated dispatching hardware and software manufactured by US Digital Designs (USDD) in Phoenix, Arizona. Among many other advantages the system offers, it enables dispatchers to put out many more calls in sequence, as fast as they can type, generating more calls to more responders in far less time.
“Dispatchers can handle multiple station calls faster and deal with simultaneous calls more quickly,” said Scott Williams, Executive Director of Emergency Communications for Ramsey County, Minnesota. “It definitely has the potential for shortening response times,” Williams told EMS World of the new technology and accompanying change to the county’s fire-station alerting system.
Minnesota’s Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center also purchased a new computed-aided dispatch (CAD) system from TriTech Software Systems. The CAD system interfaces with the Phoenix G2 system at the dispatch center and in each station. When a 911 call pops into the dispatcher’s CAD queue, the system makes recommendations on which responders to send to the scene based on drive time and the particular location of crews at the time of the call. The dispatcher can then approve the system’s recommendations and the chosen stations are alerted via the Phoenix G2 alerting system. They are subsequently dispatched by USDD’s computer-generated G2 VoiceAlert text-to-speech software, which reads the call over the air, freeing the dispatcher to take the next call.
As an increasing number of fire stations around the country are discovering, one of the great benefits of the Phoenix G2 solution is that it works by automatically transmitting emergency alert data to multiple stations simultaneously—in less than one second. What’s more, the G2 VoiceAlert technology offers consistency in tone and annunciation of streets, locations and vehicles. Each station receives and processes the transmitted data through an onsite G2 ATX Station Controller, which broadcasts the information within the fire station via electronic LED message signs and soft-start, ramped speakers.
“The Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center utilized a phased approach to replace their old fire station alerting system with the Phoenix G2 system, which is a great way to stretch budget dollars,” noted Dominic Magnoni, General Manager, US Digital Designs. “The 911 dispatch center provided the ATX Station Controller and VoiceAlert licenses for 10 fire agencies in the Saint Paul metropolitan area, then 31 fire stations purchased the equipment they wanted to outfit their individual stations.”
USDD partnered with Iowa-based RACOM to manage the Phoenix G2 installation and provide technical assistance to the fire departments for the new equipment, which includes a G2 ATX Station Controller for each fire station; G2 peripheral devices (signs, speakers, and lighting); and a G2 Communications Gateway at the Ramsey County dispatch center.
As of March 2015, the following fire agencies are part of Ramsey County Emergency Communications Phase 1 installation:
- Falcon Heights Fire Department
- Lake Johanna Fire Department serving the communities of Arden Hills, North Oaks and Shoreview
- Little Canada Fire Department
- Maplewood Fire Department
- New Brighton Fire Department
- North Saint Paul Fire Department
- Roseville Fire Department
- Saint Paul Fire Department
- Vadnais Heights Fire Department
The Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center in Saint Paul is responsible for 911 calls in 16 communities, including Saint Paul. The dispatch center alerts response crews from 18 law enforcement agencies to help in emergencies. In 2014, the center received more than 1 million emergency calls.