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Backup 911 Communications Center Unveiled Inside Jail

BROOKSVILLE – The key word is “Redundancy” according to Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, when it comes to preserving a line of communication between dispatchers and first responders.

During a recent press conference inside the Hernando County Jail, Nienhuis unveiled the new backup communications center and introduced 911 Coordinator Steve Porter, head of the facility.

Porter says “The biggest thing in emergency communications is having a backup plan because you never know when something’s going to happen.” Porter explains that having a single location for all the county’s emergency communications is not a good idea. “When it came to my attention that we were bringing a backup center to the jail, I thought it was a fantastic…” For obvious reasons, the jail offers a secure facility for the emergency backup operation, says Porter.

The new facility will not only act as an emergency backup, it will also provide a real-time live training center for new dispatchers. The facility is capable of allowing eight dispatchers to work comfortably, which the minimum number of employees that currently work inside the main building on Cortez Blvd.

Neinhuis says the new facility cost in the area of about $50,000 to $60,000 but says it would have cost a much more, if not for having a lot of the equipment in surplus.

One of the main concerns most people have when calling 911 is communication between the dispatcher and the caller. Officials say when an emergency call is received first responders area already on their way, especially in urgent situations like a fire, home invasion, or medical emergency. Sometimes callers get frustrated with 911 operators because they ask so many questions at the onset of a call. Officials want the community to know that there is nothing to worry about and that they are just gathering important information for law enforcement or fire rescue, while they are en route to the scene.

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  • funny in the first pic they are all standing there with frowns on their faces – smile guys jeez !

    Wednesday, 24 June 2015, 10:31 pm
  • Very good job. Now just get your website up to date like Pasco sheriff

    Wednesday, 24 June 2015, 5:51 pm
  • I was a member of our volunteer ambulance corps for 15 years before moving to Spring Hill in 1994. We, also, had a back-up command center. It was located right in our ambulance building. Ours, too, was to use in case of a major emergency situation. I remember it was used when a freak tornado cut a swath through the Borough, taking down a lot of power lines and causing massive destruction. Having several duty crews at the building, plus the police and dispatchers all in one place make any arising emergency much easier to deal with. We also had our share of hurricanes, too which also needed us to “be together” in one place. On our ambulance property was located a huge transmission tower for our emergency radios. We had 3 ambulances, which included a 4WD for the snow days, a huge generator to supply emergency power, and a completely equipped professional kitchen. We were not paid. We ambulance personnel, some 60 of us, were all volunteers, as well as those on our 3 fire departments. Glad we have a “satellite” base, now, too. Hope it is never used, but just to be prepared is a good thing to do.

    Tuesday, 23 June 2015, 10:58 pm
  • Another “Job well done” AL!

    Monday, 22 June 2015, 2:31 pm

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