Presently, the CAD II System is integrated with an enhanced 9-1-1 telephone system, and has developed into a regional dispatch center. The Phoenix Fire Department dispatches for 18 other Fire Departments in the 478 square miles of the Phoenix Metropolitan area through automatic aid agreements. This has greatly enhanced the delivery over 200,000 emergencies annually.
The Center is equipped with a state of the art phone and radio system that enhances the CAD II Dispatch System.
An Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) System using Satellite technology is an integral part of the Dispatch System. The AVL System is able to continuously track the exact location of all emergency vehicles, thus allowing the dispatch of the closest, most appropriate, apparatus to the incident. A wall-mounted video display screen in the center allows dispatch personnel to monitor unit status and location of all vehicles in the system.
The Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and utilizes a call-loading principal staffing. The minimum number of personnel on duty at any one time is 7; a typical shift staffs 13. High activity periods will result in up to 18 consoles being staffed, with additional personnel serving as runners, and in a relief capacity. Each shift is assigned a supervisor, an Emergency Medical Dispatcher-Lead, a medical dispatcher, and at least five dispatchers filling the roles of incident takers, dispatchers, or tactical radio operators. Most shifts are 8-hour days, with 2 days off on a rotating basis. Several personnel are on four 10-hour shifts to assist in covering the busier times. All dispatchers are certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers through the Phoenix Fire Department and Phoenix College.
One of the great advantages for all the cities that are part of the regional dispatch operation is the fact that they are dispatched as if they were a single fire department. Territorial lines are not recognized. The closest appropriate unit to any emergency situation is dispatched without regard to city boundaries. It is automatic-aide at its highest level. All members of this regional dispatch consortium have agreed to follow the same policies and procedures for dispatch protocols and emergency scene operations. Often, various departments are found "working together" on the same incident. The Incident Management System is designed to fully integrate and support this mix of fire departments during incident operations. The Phoenix Dispatch Center also enjoys a long history of providing medical self-help pre-arrival instruction over the telephone. This is a formalized and structured process assigned to the incident takers. These dispatchers provide emergency medical instructions over the phone while fire department units are enroute to the scene. Many lives have been saved over the past two decades.