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Hamilton County, Ohio

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Hamilton County Communications Center

2377 Civic Center Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231
PH: (513) 825-2170 | FX: (513) 595-8457

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Telecommunications



 

Hamilton County Communications Center Business Plan


I. Department Overview

a.) Vision Statement

The Hamilton County Department of Communications is dedicated to providing the finest and most professional Public Safety Communications services.  We provide the services in the most accurate, expeditious and technologically efficient manner possible.  We are the first link in the chain between the public and emergency public safety services and willingly accept that responsibility.

We understand the uniqueness of the communities that we service and strive to meet the needs of each of them.  We value diversity among our staff and encourage each employee to take responsibility and make contributions to improve our services.  It is this commitment that drives us to serve with integrity, excellence, compassion, and professionalism.

b.) Who we are / What we do

The Hamilton County Department of Communications consists of two divisions. The Public Safety Communications Division is a consolidated E 9-1-1 center that serves the emergency communications needs of over 105 police, fire and EMS agencies in 42 political jurisdictions serving over 500,000 Hamilton County residents.  The Telecommunications Division provides telephone and data technical infrastructure support to all County departments.

c.) Core Functions / Lines of Work


II. Performance Measures

Public Safety Communications Division

Two primary statistics are used to measure performance in the Public Safety Communications Division including the average call answering time and the average call handling time as compared to accepted national standards.

a). The National Fire Protection Association  (NFPA)  has set a standard that 95% of 9-1-1 calls should be answered in 15 seconds or less and 99% of 9-1-1 calls should be answered in 40 seconds or less.  The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) has set a standard that 90% of 9-1-1 calls should be answered within 10 seconds during the busiest hour of the day and 95% of all 9-1-1 calls should be answered within 20 seconds.

Hamilton County Communications has set an objective to answer all 9-1-1 calls in an average of 9 seconds.  The data below shows that 9-1-1 calls are being consistently answered within an average of 1 to 2 seconds or in less than one ring.  This is well below the times established by national standards.  (See Table #57)

b). Call handling time is measured as the time between when a call is answered until the time the first unit is dispatched.  The Communication Center objective is to dispatch all EMS calls within a call handling time of 90 seconds or less.  The data below shows that EMS calls are being dispatched consistently with a 2011 average call handling time of 73 seconds well within the stated objective of 90 seconds or less.  (See Table #58)

Telecommunications Division 

In order to provide efficient and quality service the Telecommunications Division has set an objective to process requests for service in 3 days.  The data below shows the number of County phone lines and the per day number of requests completed.  The Division is consistently 99.9% efficient in completion of service requests within the 3 day objective.  (See Table #59)

 

 

Objective to Answer 9-1-1 calls within an average of 9 seconds
2009
2010
2011
2012
Demand
255,005
253,775
268,944
269,000
Workload
255,005
253,775
268,944
269,000
Efficiency
2 s
1.5 s
1.6 s
1.5 s
Effectiveness/Outcome
Achieved
Achieved
Achieved
 

Objective to dispatch EMS calls within 90 seconds or less of call answer time
2009
2010
2011
2012
Demand
48,698
50,029
50,332
50,400
Workload
48,698
50,029
50,332
50,400
Efficiency-Average
62 s
67 s
73 s
70 s
Effectiveness/Outcome
Achieved
Achieved
Achieved
 

Objective to process requests for service in 3 days
2009
2010
2011
2012
Demand - phone lines
6425
6448
6525
6375
Workload - phone lines
6425
6448
6525
6375
Efficiency - per day
15
16
16
16
Effectiveness - Outcome
99.9%
99.9%
99.9%
99.9%


III. Organizational Staffing Levels

 

The Public Safety Communications Division has an authorized staffing level of 82 employees.  This includes 67 Communications Officers, 9 Communications Supervisors, and 6 Administrative staff.  The Telecommunications Division has an authorized staffing level of 10 employees.  The Telecommunications Division emplyees are General Fund FTEs. 

Department of Communications
2009
2010
2011
2012
General Fund FTE
8
8
8
8
Other Fund FTE
80
80
80
80
Total
88
88
88
88
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


IV. Financial Plan

 

Financial Description

The Public Safety Division of the Department of Communications is a restricted fund Division.  Estimated 2012 funding percentages for the Department of Communications include the following sources; cities and villages (36%), townships (31%), Hamilton County Departments (13%), and County General Fund Supplement (20%). 

 

User agencies contract with the County for various services including:

Full User - The Communication Center provides 9-1-1 and non-emergency call answering services as well as police, fire, and EMS dispatch services for these communities. 

 

Valley User - These communities use the County 800 MHz radio system but provide their own dispatch services.

 

9-1-1 PSAP Associate - The Communication Center is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for these communities.  The 9-1-1 calls are answered and then transferred to the dispatch center in the local community.

 

The User agencies pay a minimum fee for the services provided.  The minimum fee for 2012 is $1665.00 monthly.  This fee applies to minimum full system users, radio system users, and PSAP Associates.  Full system users pay the minimum fee plus additional fees for incidents processed beyond a predetermined number of incidents per month.  The cost per incident is applied to all incidents for the user over the baseline.  The cost per incident rate for 2012 is $18.30. 

 

Users also pay minimal fees for use of the County alpha paging system and non-public safety use of the 800 MHz radio system.  The paging system is used by police and fire agencies.  The majority of non-public safety use of the radio system is the Metropolitan Sewer District and local public service departments.  Total revenues collected remain flat with little or no increase or decrease.

 

The Telecommunications Division is a General Fund Division funded on the basis of need.  An annual assessment of the Divisions projects is analyzed by the Budget Department to develop the budget.  Restricted fund departments are invoiced for work performed in those departments by the Telecommunications Division.

Current Budget and Trends - Public Safety Division

The 2012 Communication Center Public Safety Division budget  is $7,636,858.  The budget is projected to increase at a rate of 5 to 7 percent annually.  Phase II wireless legislation has created additional revenue that will be in place until the end of 2012 under current law.  This funding source resulted in additional revenue of approximately $740,000 in 2011 reducing the need for the general fund supplement.  Projected 2012 wireless revenue is $750,000.  In future years, approximately $1.3 to $1.6 million in General Fund money will be necessary to supplement the operations budget annually.  With the loss of wireless revenue this supplement will be approximately $2 to $2.5 million. 

Current Budget and Trends - Telecommunications Division

The 2012 Telecommunications Division budget is $1,431,172. This is a slight increase over the 2011 budget.

Budgetary Issues

Two major issues impacting the budget have been identified as factors in decreasing expenditures.

 

Wage costs will remain flat in 2012.  The Communications Officer Collective Bargaining Agreement approved in 2009 provides no wage increase in 2012.  This contract will be open for negotiation in late 2012.

 

Utility costs are decreasing due to a rate agreement between Duke Energy and the County.  Electricity is obviously an essential element in keeping the Communication Center and 14 additional radio tower sites in service on a 24/7 basis.

 

 

 

Telecommunications
2009
2010
2011
2012
Personnel
650,203
623,722
612,416
621,613
Other
631,147
555,520
599,178
769,955
Capital
13,339
10,390
1,596
39,000
Total
1,294,689
1,189,632
1,213,190
1,430,568
 

Public Safety Divison
2009
2010
2011
2012
Personnel
4,752,657
4,535,744
4,520,457
5,219,802
Other
2,165,984
1,789,963
2,299,227
2,173,655
Capital
390,092
932,038
719,427
262,088
Total
7,308,732
7,257,745
7,539,111
7,656,545
 


V. Critical Issues and Key Initiatives Facing Department in 2008 & Beyond

A).     Staffing 

In support of the Board of County Commissioners stated goal of encouraging consolidation of services, the Hamilton County Communication Center has made great strides over years by attracting new communities and agencies to utilize the Centers communication services.  The Communication Center now provides emergency public safety communication services to all but two of 48 political jurisdictions in Hamilton County.  Every community that has joined this system has had to fully weigh that decision against the recognition that they are entrusting the County with the health and safety of the residents in their community.  The Center has become the primary 9-1-1 answering point for 47 entities serving a residential population of over 500,000 people. The Center also provides dispatching services to 105 police, fire, and EMS agencies. This department fully understands the immense responsibilities that we assume and the associated life threatening consequences of our mistakes. It is with the recognition that inherent in the nature of the work and responsibilities that are performed by this department, there is an uncompromising expectation that above average performance is always the expected norm. Through this commitment to outstanding service, we have endeavored to provide the finest public safety communications services possible and earned a national reputation as one of the finest communication systems in the country.

B).     Next Generation 9-1-1 Voice over IP Technology (VOIP)

Trends in telecommunications mobility and convergence have put the     9-1-1 system at a crossroads. The growing use of both cellular and Voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) telephony underscore the limitations of the current 9-1-1 infrastructure. Our current 9-1-1 infrastructure cannot handle the text, data, images, and video that are increasingly common in personal communications devices. The growing consensus in the 9-1-1 community is the need for a new, more capable system surrounding emergency call delivery and response. In 2009 the Communication Center began testing infrastructure and software that will, among other functions, allow the Center to receive 9-1-1 calls via text messaging.  A new IP based telephone system will be installed in the first quarter of 2012 as the initial step in introducing these new technologies.  Testing of new 9-1-1 technologies will begain in 2012.  These new technologies include text messaging to 9-1-1 and sending photos and video to 9-1-1.  

C).     Alpha Numeric Paging Alerting System - Replacement

 Fire and EMS personnel are dispatched and alerted through the County alpha numeric paging system.  The Communication Center will replace major components of this system in 2012.  This replacement is mandated by the FCC to meet federal radio system narrow banding requirements and must be completed by December 31, 2012.


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