What is Smart911?
Smart 911 is a cloud based service that allows you to assemble and maintain a set of information to be sent to TCOMM 9-1-1 when you place a 9-1-1 call. When you create an account, you can provide as much information as you want to be available during an emergency. This can be almost anything from your home address to your medical conditions or even your family pets. The information is attached to all the phone numbers you choose to register regardless of their type (Cell, VoIP, Landline). Once you create your account, you can opt into alerts (text, email, voice) that are provided by Thurston County Emergency Management so that you are better informed of situations in our community. You are in the driver’s seat so sign up now for an account with Smart 911 and be better prepared for emergencies.
If I am able to text 911, will the 911 center automatically know my location?
No. When you make a voice call to 911 from your cell phone, the dispatcher taking your call will typically receive your phone number and your approximate location provided by your phone. When you text 911 from a cell phone, the dispatcher does not receive this information. This is why it is important to know your location when texting 911.
How do I find out if the area I am in has Text to 911 capability?
You can call your local 911 center to see if they are prepared to accept text to 911 messages.
If Text to 911 is available in my area, what type of wireless phone or service do I need to send an emergency text?
Check with your wireless phone company. In general, you must have a text-capable wireless phone, and a wireless service subscription or contract with a wireless phone company. You may also need a “wireless data plan.” Remember you can make a voice call to 911 using a wireless phone that does not have a service plan but you cannot text to 911 without a service contract that includes texting.
How long has TCOMM operated as a consolidated 911 Communications Center?
TCOMM has been serving the citizens of Thurston County as a consolidated Communications Center since 1970.
What kind of screening is used for applicants for Telecommunicator jobs?
- Public Safety Testing “911 Dispatcher” written exam (with 70% passing score)
- Keyboard test (35 WPM, 90% accuracy)
- CritiCall Dispatcher and Call Taker Pre-Employment exam (with 80% passing score)
- Preliminary Oral Interview
- Executive Director Interview
- Background check
- Psychological Exam
- Reference Check
- Baseline hearing test
How long does it take for a new employee to become fully qualified at all positions in the Communications Center?
It does vary but in general, it takes between 18 and 24 months to become fully qualified.
In addition to law enforcement, fire and emergency medical agencies as the primary mission who else does TCOMM provide service to?
TCOMM provides various services to Cities and County Public Works, Animal Services, Thurston County Coroner, Thurston County Judges, Thurston County Prosecutor, Private Ambulance companies, Private Tow companies, Nisqually Tribal Police, Thurston County Amateur Radio, Thurston County Search and Rescue.
What happens when a large scale or major disaster occurs?
TCOMM would handle all emergency calls and dispatch response agencies until Emergency Operations Center/s (EOCs) and/or Emergency Coordination Centers (ECCs) are up and functioning. Then we coordinate with them on all disaster related calls, so they can obtain additional resources that may be needed to supplement our normal Public Safety Agencies. Communications would be normal until it’s determined that the event justifies a specific radio channel being assigned. On large incidents we may choose to utilize a statewide law or fire frequency so responders from different jurisdictions can all communicate on a command and control, or common operational frequency. We’ve seen through major incidents across the nation, that often many frequencies need to be available to properly manage large scale incidents. And when there is a need to communicate with state or federal resources, we are challenged to make that happen quickly. We make our communications work using our current capabilities, and when needed we think outside the box to provide what our responders need to manage a major incident.
What should I do if I accidentally call 911?
Don’t hang up. Wait for a public safety telecommunicator to answer and then tell them that you do not have an emergency. Tell them you dialed 911 by accident. If you hang up, we will need to call you back to make sure everything is OK.