Technical Services

Technical ServicesThe primary goal of MetCom's Technical Services Department is to facilitate the smooth operation of the Agency's communications computer systems, networks, telephone systems, paging systems, alerting systems, mobile systems, and 800/VHF radio Systems. Technical Services directly supports MetCom's Dispatch Operations, including emergency vehicle mobile computing systems.

The Technical Services staff conducts preventative maintenance on major components and redundant systems to ensure communications systems will be available when needed. All major communication systems are tested regularly. Technical Services also instituted, tests, and maintains several redundant systems for unfortunate situations when events dictate the need to fail over to backup systems. Each of the technical systems requires internal expertise as well as external resources.

Technical Services also administers and maintains the standard network hardware and software for business operation. For redundancy and high availability MetCom utilizes VMWare to assure that our server systems stay online even during outages and emergencies.

Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)

Computer Aided Dispatch, "CAD," is a collection of servers and applications that collect and process enhanced 9-1-1 information including automatic number identification (ANI) and automatic location information (ALI), and also provides emergency unit location and availability.

9-1-1 dispatchers use CAD to create emergency incidents; assign these incidents to fire or EMS responders based on CAD-generated unit recommendation, which uses the unit type, closest unit, and availability to determine best unit. CAD is the central collection point for almost all emergency incident information from sources including, telephone, radio, other dispatch system interfaces.

CAD functions let 9-1-1 dispatchers perform their jobs with ease, accuracy, efficiency and speed. The CAD database provides a wealth of information which MetCom staff and user agencies collect and analyze information to constantly improve public safety.

The CAD systems sends signals to several systems (station alerting, paging, mobile computers) to notify the proper public safety personnel for emergency calls. A simulated voice (Tom) automatically airs detailed call information directly to the emergency personnel, station, and sleeping quarters, thus saving valuable time and allowing the dispatcher to work closely with the caller.

Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL)

This technology links vehicles equipped with AVL, such as ambulances, with MetCom's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) through geo-synchronous position satellites (GPS). With AVL equipment in place, it is possible to track public safety vehicles throughout MetCom's response areas as well as display unit locations on each MDC (Mobile Data Computer) in each vehicle. This allows both dispatch and units in the field to know exactly where their necessary resources are.

The ability to connect a 9-1-1 caller with the closest public safety resource, like an ambulance, saves valuable time during an emergency. The AVL routing program considers such information as speed limits and road impediments when plotting routes to the incident to determine which emergency vehicle should respond to the incident. The closest units are then recommended for dispatch to the incident.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GIS works in conjunction with MetCom's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) to display geographic information on a computerized map of our district and surrounding districts for mutual aid. The location of 9-1-1 calls made from landline phones displays on the map, as does the general location of cell phone callers who have Phase II compliant phones. Our data includes detailed information to the firefighter or paramedic in the field. Available data includes but isn't limited to: hydrant data, addresses, water mains, trails, rivers, driveways, aerial photography, plus more. The highly accurate data for the GIS mapping used by CAD is maintained internally with dedicated staff to provide the most up to date information as possible.

IDTIncident Dispatch Teams (IDT)

Technical Services is also an integral part of MetCom's Incident Dispatch Team. Technical Services is responsible for all the computer and telecommunications equipment in the mobile command center and two dispatch vehicles. All of these vehicles have the necessary equipment to provide onsite communications with dispatch and the ability to interlink communications between different agencies.