This week is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. It is designated as a time when citizens can thank public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment during times of crisis. Americans can show gratitude to 9-1-1 calltakers, dispatchers, technicians that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, communications staff trainers, communications center personnel, and other public safety telecommunications staff across the country who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to help you during emergencies.
Located at Las Vegas Fire & Rescue headquarters is the Fire Alarm Office (FAO) which is a multi-jurisdictional fire and medical 9-1-1 communications center that serves Clark County, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. The center handles fire and medical emergency calls for nearly all of Southern Nevada, which covers nearly 8,000 square miles. On average the center handles approximately 750 calls a day.
Last year in the Fire Alarm Office:
Number of 9-1-1 Calls Handled by FAO – 338,000
Number of Incident Dispatches – 253,734
Total number of Units Dispatched by FAO – 328,357
In addition to handling 9-1-1 calls for help, the center also handles communications for fire and emergency medical services, the maintenance of all communications equipment used by three fire departments, creating maps that are used by all public safety agencies in Southern Nevada and the approval of the naming of all streets in Southern Nevada. All personnel that work in the FAO are medically trained as Emergency Medical Dispatchers and deliver life-saving information over the phone as people call in medical emergencies. This has saved many lives in years past and continues on a daily basis.
Public Safety communications started in the early 1940s when the Las Vegas Police Department started using two-way radios for communications. In the mid-1940s police radios were added to fire equipment used by the Las Vegas Fire Department for communications.
As the Las Vegas Fire Department grew in the 1950s it started to handle its own fire communications needs. As the county grew Clark County and North Las Vegas became part of the Las Vegas Fire Department communications center which is now the Fire Alarm Office today. Today it is considered one of the finest fire alarm communications systems in the country and is visited by communications and fire officials from around the world frequently to see how it operates.
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