The Newtown Emergency Communications Center’s (NECC) ability to manage emergency calls for service has been enhanced with its use of a large flat-panel monitor that now hangs on the center’s eastern wall.
NECC is located within Town Hall South, at 3 Main Street. The Center handles all local police, fire, and ambulance calls. It is the answering point for local Emergency 911 calls.
Maureen Will, town director of emergency communications, said the monitor can be used to display the visual/graphic information that is viewable on emergency dispatchers’ multiple smaller desk-mounted monitors. The wall-mounted monitor measures five feet diagonally.
As she spoke on February 18, the large monitor displayed a repetitive multicolored digital radar loop depicting the advance of a snow/rain storm that was underway that day.
Besides providing dispatchers with current weather information, the large monitor can be used to display the current positions of police cars on patrol in town, Ms Will said.
The police vehicles have Global Positioning System (GPS) devices within them which keep the NECC constantly informed of their geographic location. Those locations are represented by automobile icons displayed on an electronic road map of the town. The technology is known as an “automatic vehicle locator.”
By knowing where police cars are located at a given time, it shows the dispatchers which vehicles are located nearest to an emergency call for service.
Ms Will said the large monitor can be used to display the town’s “geographic information system” mapping, which includes multiple layers of information as detailed as the location of fire hydrants and pipelines. Such information aids fire companies in their responses to emergencies.
Ms Will joked that she calls the monitor “Big Bertha,” in that its large size allows multiple people to simultaneously view the information displayed on it.
The monitor has been equipped with touch screen features to enhance its use, she said.
“This is going to help us” in terms of finding people who become lost, she added.
When hikers become lost in either the upper or lower Paugussett State Forests, which are located along the Housatonic River, emergency responders often locate them by electronic triangulation based on the point of origin of those hikers’ 911 cellphone calls for help. Such triangulation data can be displayed on the large monitor.
Police Sergeant David Kullgren said that Newtown received two such monitors free of charge through the efforts of the former group known as Sandy Hook Arcade Center. The other monitor was donated to Edmond Town Hall.
The temporary arcade group sponsored a free electronic games center at Sand Hill Plaza for children’s recreation following 12/14. The arcade group, which was always meant to be a temporary offering to the town, has since dissolved.
“It has been a great addition to the communications center,” Sgt Kullgren said of the large monitor.
Scott Cicciari, one of the founders of Sandy Hook Arcade Center, said that the Samsung Group had loaned the two large professional-grade monitors to the arcade for use with electronic games.
When the arcade closed, Samsung agreed to donate the two monitors to Newtown, Mr Cicciari said.
Edmond Town Hall is expected to use its monitor for marketing, Mr Cicciari said.