2017 DEM Annual Report DEM_2017_Annual_Report | Page 16

DIVISIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS _______________________________ EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS Public Safety Communications Dispatchers are San Francisco’s first, first responders. They are the people who answer calls made to 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. These professionals dispatch Police, Fire, and medical services to the scene of accidents, crimes, fires, and other emergency and non-emergency situations. Dispatchers act as the communications hub for emergency services and must quickly assess situations and send appropriate help. Since 2011 San Francisco’s 9-1-1 Dispatch Center has experienced a 43 percent increase in call volume in the face of a decreasing dispatcher workforce. The challenge of fewer dispatchers answering 1000 more calls a day than they did seven years ago, while ensuring vital services remain available to the public, has fallen on the shoulders of our hardworking dispatchers. To address this significant increase in call volume, in 2017 DEM hired and trained more public safety dispatchers than ever before and began an expansion of the Operations Floor to go from 42 9-1-1 terminals to 50. DEM also implemented a new computer program to help dispatchers send the closest medics to emergencies. With the support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office, DEM launched a digital, radio, and print public education campaign about when (and when not ) to call 9-1-1 as opposed to 3-1-1 entitled: Make the Right Call. Thanks to these combined efforts, by the end of 2017 DEM met the national service standard to answer 90 percent of emergency calls within 10 seconds for the first time in five years. Employee Spotlight: Katherine Buhagiar I’m public safety dispatcher for the Department of Emergency Management Division of Emergency Communications and treat every call with precision and compassion. Going Beyond the Phone Line: La Casa de Las Madres Comfort Care Packages As part of the national public safety dispatcher’s week, DEM dispatchers challenged the entire department to make a difference in the lives of women escaping from domestic abuse. Our dispatchers have been a lifeline to women calling 9-1-1 to escape domestic violence and chaos experienced by women as they plan to leave their attackers. That is why they were determined to raise funds to create care packages for 100 women through our partnership with La Casa de Las Madres. The care package included toiletries, feminine products, socks, treats, and other emergency supplies.