Public Safety Communications Project Profiles

Newtown Emergency Communications Center

Newtown, Connecticut

Considering today’s needs and anticipating future change, Newtown wants their emergency communications center outfitted to leverage the talents of their next-gen dispatchers and to accommodate changing technology to better serve their growing community for decades to come.

The Challenge

Heading into the center renovation, Newtown ECC dispatchers are working from 13-year-old consoles that are not 100% functional. Since the original vendor went out of business, Newtown is without the support needed to keep their dispatch console furniture in top shape. In addition, the outdated console design does not support smooth workflow, nor communication between team members. Cabling is not integrated into the furniture leaving cords prone to accidental disengagement.

The Solution

Under the leadership of Maureen Will, and thanks to the support of their community, the team now occupies a state-of-the-art emergency communications center, complete with new technology and Russ Bassett dispatch consoles that support the health and focus of the 365/24/7 team.

Overview

4 Positions

4 Flex
Consoles

  • Slatwall Array
  • Personal Comfort System
  • Slatwall Work Tools
  • Blue Ambient Lighting

Installed In
2020

Russ Bassett Dispatch Consoles Take Newtown ECC Into the Future

Newtown wants to create an emergency communications center that leverages the talents of next-gen dispatchers and accommodates changing technology in the coming decades. Part of the project includes selecting new, modernized dispatch consoles. The Newtown team expects to work from the new dispatch consoles for another 13+ years. They will be evaluating console furniture for durability and looking for manufacturers with proven customer support.

 Critical to the success of the project will be selecting furniture that plans well into the space and provides operators and IT teams with features that make their respective jobs easier. The team prioritizes dispatch console features that support project goals:

  • Durable, ergonomic console furniture that promotes dispatcher comfort and focus
  • Floorplan that makes cross-team collaboration easy
  • Consoles that accommodate technology changes
  • Proven long-standing, dependable customer care

 Maureen Will and her team visit communications centers in Connecticut and view console furniture demonstrations at national industry conferences before making their final decision – Russ Bassett single surface, dual lift dispatch consoles.

Newtown Emergency Communications Center Before and After

A More Comfortable Dispatching Experience

Ergonomic Adjustment Promotes Healthy Posture

“No two dispatchers have the same physical requirements,” shares Will. When selecting dispatch consoles, the Newtown team looks for a solution that allows all dispatchers to achieve comfort and to easily reposition from sitting to standing during their shift. This requires upgrading to a modern console design

– single surface, dual lift.

 Previously, the monitors had little adjustment capability and the split surfaces required relocating work tools and two step adjustment when shifting from sitting to standing. Now, each dispatcher achieves ergonomic comfort and can change positions during the shift using single touch control.

 In addition to the expansive single surface, each dispatcher’s monitors are mounted on an array that moves independent of the surface. The uninterrupted worksurface, broad range of surface height adjustment, and monitor array height adjustment means each staffer can locate their keyboard, monitors and work tools for optimal comfort. Single touch monitor focal depth adjustment further helps dispatchers mitigate eye strain by readjusting monitor positions as needed.

 “Everything is now where the operators need it,” says Will of the new dispatch consoles.

Comfort Features Promote Dispatcher Focus

Heating and cooling plus task and ambient lighting are additional upgrades that help Newtown dispatchers. Being able to regulate temperature and light is essential for maintaining a calm demeanor under duress. Now, each dispatcher controls the temperature at their dispatch console using either desktop cooling fans or under-surface heaters. Operators can also supplement room lighting with task lights and calming blue, ambient light.

Open Plan Supports Collaborative Emergency Response

A refreshed dispatching space provides opportunity for an entirely new space plan, one that opens sight lines and traffic flow. Will and the selection team give vendors a wish list. Russ Bassett returns with four unique dispatch console space plans. Each option is totally different than the existing layout and makes better use of the space.

 During the space planning process, it is sometimes difficult to conceptualize exactly how the room will look. The Russ Bassett Designers work in cooperation with the project architect to create plans and renderings that help the Newtown team envision exactly how the room will look post installation. According to Will, “the drawings are true to form and the room looks exactly as expected.”

Everything I.T. in its Place

“IT can’t get over the fact that Russ Bassett consoles have such a high level of technology integration. They are looking forward to the installation because they know it will be easy,” shares Will. Everything has been considered: cabling is concealed so there is no chance of accidental disconnection, the Technology Wall houses and protects CPUs and other communication equipment, there are multiple access points, and maintenance can happen from the front of the consoles. The new console design solves for pain points that have plagued the team for years.

More Comfort, Increased Safety, Better Focus

Blue Earth was seeking a more efficient, quieter, user-controlled heating and cooling solution. Dispatchers appreciated having cool air, but the old console fans were too noisy to use regularly. The dispatchers also needed localized heating in the cold winter months. However, the old consoles had ineffective radiant heating panels.

The Russ Bassett integrated Comfort Control System gives Blue Earth operators localized forced air heating and cooling from energy-efficient, ultra-quiet appliances. The desktop fans and under-surface heaters power on with a single touch. Both cooling fans can be placed anywhere on the desktop and directional air flow adjustment allows dispatchers to focus cool air where they need it. Both under-surface heaters tilt up or down to focus warm air where it is most beneficial. Both the fans and heaters move with the dispatcher when they change position from sitting to standing. As an additional safety measure, the system has an occupancy sensor that turns off the appliances when no movement is detected at the console; the appliances re-engage when the operator returns.

Customer Care and Attention to the Little Things

“Bang for the buck is not just equipment, it’s how you’re treated before, after, and during,” shares Will. When tackling a project with this level of complexity, it is important to evaluate each vendor’s ability to deliver exceptional product AND ongoing customer care. “Russ Bassett demonstrated, from day one, that they are partners.”

 Will shares,

 The Russ Bassett team makes themselves available and they seek to educate rather than talk over details. The approach of the Russ Bassett team, from the personal call from the organization’s President to the congenial collaboration with designers and project managers, shows they truly care about our needs.

 They listen intently and work hard to provide solutions that make our workspace better. The ease of doing business was phenomenal. Never did I feel pressure to make a decision. The Russ Bassett team eased my mind of any concern. The center is brighter. It is beautiful. My legacy will be what I put inside the communications center and that’s a good feeling.

More About Newtown Emergency Communications Center

The Newtown Emergency Communications Center handles emergency and non-emergency calls and dispatches Police, Fire, and EMS for the Town of Newtown. The center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days per week by two Emergency Telecommunicator Dispatchers. Utilizing Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) these Telecommunicators process calls and dispatch appropriate responders based on standard protocols. In addition to handling calls from the public, Telecommunicators monitor all emergency radio communications and provide a vital link for responders in the field.

 In 2018 Telecommunicators handled 7,723 911 calls; dispatching 2,658 ambulance calls, 2,338 fire calls, and 9,169 police calls.

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