In the world of dispatch furniture equipment, it’s no secret that in Communications Centers the monitors are getting larger and the CPUs are getting smaller. Now it seems like there are endless options for monitor sizes, and that means new ways to configure them as well. If you’re brainstorming new ways to improve or change your monitor setup, here are 3 trends that we’ve noticed in the field:
With winter winding down, we tend to go through our closets and get rid of the clutter. What better place to start dusting than your own 911 backup center. You know, that room that hardly ever gets some love!
As much as technology has advanced, there is still a small chance of failure and the need to work out of your backup site. Alternatively, there could be inclement weather that might force you to go to a different location. Many PSAPs are revamping their backup center to mirror their primary location in the event of an emergency. Some are also utilizing the space as a training facility. Given the increased use, more Comm Centers are asking about solutions for their backup site. Here are a few recommendations to revamp your backup site and have it prepped for any emergency:
Purchasing dispatch furniture is not an easy task, which is probably why it only happens every 10-15 years. There are a lot of steps and parties involved, from radio vendors to flooring teams, it’s not exactly like trip to IKEA!
When you’re about to request your purchase order, it’s tempting to let your foot off the gas pedal because it feels like you’ve done all the hard stuff. Many Comm Center Managers will agree, you’re only just getting your engines started.
Whenever you go on a first date, it can seem awkward to talk about long term goals, plans, or babies...? In a similar fashion, when you meet with your dispatch furniture vendor for the first time and they start asking you questions about elevators and trailers, it might seem like they’re jumping the gun. You might be thinking, “Whoa there, cowboy! I just want to get a drawing!” You were probably prepared to answer all the standard questions like: “How many positions? What is your preferred configuration? How will your equipment change? What’s the budget?”
So what about the nitty-gritty stuff and why does it even matter?
When is the right time to start thinking about getting dispatch furniture proposals? The short and simple answer to this question is, that it all depends. Every state (really every Comm center) has a unique purchasing system that usually drives the speed at which you can get new dispatch consoles. Workstations are typically replaced once every 10–15 years. If you are in charge of getting the new workstations, it might be the first and last time you buy furniture with your agency. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry; most people aren’t too experienced at buying dispatch furniture.
You know that feeling when you get a new car? At first, it’s all shiny and new. You take extra care with the buttons, and you do everything possible to avoid spills and stains. The experience of getting new dispatch furniture brings up all of the same feels! After some time, however, your furniture will naturally experience some wear and tear, and you’ll need to do a little spring cleaning.
With the holidays coming right around the corner, many 911 Comm Centers are experiencing increased call volume, and because of this, you may not have any creative juices left over to boost morale in your center. So, to help you out, I conducted a phone interview with Tammy Price, Chief of Baltimore County 911 Center, to discuss some ideas on how to ramp up morale that actually work in the real world. She is no stranger to cool and fun ideas. In fact, she has given presentations on how to boost morale in Comm Centers three times at various APCO/NENA conferences.
The end of the year means budget submittals are upon us! Oh, and the HOLIDAYS...yes, I said it! Maybe you don't need new dispatch consoles, but you want to revamp your Comm Center and give it a refresh. Adding some small things to your center is a great way to boost morale. So, with the upcoming holidays and unavoidable chaos here are 4 ways you can spruce up your center without breaking the bank:
Don’t pretend like you don’t remember the song! Unlike this catchy tune, discussing dispatch workstations electrical requirements can be forgotten about until a few weeks prior to installation. When you’re discussing dispatch workstation requirements during initial meetings with your sales manager, it’s important to have IT personnel present, as doing so will help to make sure you review cabling or electrical requirements. While it might seem too soon to discuss electrical components, especially if you’re in the beginning phases of budgeting for dispatch workstations, it’s still important to start turning the gears now. Ignoring these questions upfront could incur unwanted costs later in the event you make room changes or need to bring in an electrician.
There are many different avenues out there when purchasing your height-adjustable dispatch workstations and dispatch furniture. Some 911 Comm Centers require a three-quote process, others purchase directly off of state contracts, and some "piggy-back" off of open contracts in their states. If your 911 Comm Center chooses or requires a formal bid process, the journey can be more complicated than you expect! You will have to draft up arequest for proposal (RFP), which often has an addendum or two. Then you also have to think about reviewing and scoring the submittals. Then, when the RFP is closed and the vendor is awarded, you might think, "Hooray! We're in the clear!" Let me put the brakes on that dream wagon; there's still some more work to do.