Dobbins opens new Joint Communications Center

Veronica Grantham works dispatch for the fire department at the new Joint Communications Center.

Veronica Grantham works dispatch for the fire department at the new Joint Communications Center.

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- The Dobbins Fire Department and Security Forces recently opened a Joint Communications Center, which includes brand new computer and radio systems. The center makes it possible for both groups to receive 911 calls and dispatch the appropriate response from one primary location. 

“Before this communication center, the Fire Department Communication Center was located in one area and the Security Forces Communication Center was located in another area,” said Maj. Dave Guio, Security Forces operations officer. “With the old system, the Fire Department was dispatched first and then there was a certain amount of protocol that needed to be addressed before Security Forces was notified. This slowed our response time down, but with the new system we are notified right away and this enables us to get to a call much faster.” 

This initiative has been in the planning stages for several years. The concept is not new; the local community has used 911 and has been consolidated for years. The objective behind this move was to increase the wings’ emergency operational response capability and upgrade both dispatch consoles with the latest technology needed in a post 9/11 world. 

The new communications system enables the phone operators to determine which building a call comes from, helping to trace hang up calls – a capability that did not exist previously. 

The new system has touch screen capabilities and can communicate with outside agencies including Cobb County safety personnel. The new center, located at the Security Forces’ building, has brand new plasma televisions that display all the security cameras on base. It also has a voice recorder so all the 911 telephone calls can be recorded. 

“A good example of how well this new center operates is just a few weeks ago dispatch received a call of a person having heart trouble. Security Forces was notified at the same time as the Fire Department and was able to arrive on scene before anyone else,” said Master Sgt. Rocky Epps, Standardization and Evaluation coordinator. “We are the first base in the Air Force Reserve Command to have a consolidated center. They are looking to us as the test base and so far we have been a great success.” 

The new center has five dispatchers working 24 hours a day on a rotating schedule. They monitor security and fire alarms on approximately 170 buildings. 

“This new computer system has increased the capabilities and complexity of the operation by about 100 percent.” said Sergeant Epps.