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News > Commentary - Straight Talk: Base emergency services
Straight Talk: Base emergency services

Posted 3/8/2012   Updated 3/8/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander

3/8/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- If you've been looking for an excuse to dress up and get out of the house for a good cause, then make sure to sign up for the "Razzle Dazzle" scholarship auction being held at the Minuteman Commons March 24. The final day to RSVP is March 17 so round up your friends and family and plan for a night out! This is a wonderful event the Hanscom Spouses Club puts on each year to raise money for scholarships that go toward Hanscom Air Force Base graduating high school seniors and spouses pursuing college-level degrees. Visit the HSC website at www.hanscomsc.org to RSVP or learn more.

Base emergency services
This week, we focus on emergency services. Our guest contributor is 1st Lt. Phillip Zencey, 66th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.

Hanscom Air Force Base maintains a number of resources to assist you in an emergency. Like most communities nationwide, you can get help during an emergency by dialing 911, whether on a cell phone, a hard line or on the more modern Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, system.

There are significant differences in how your call is routed, depending on what type of device you use to make the call. In a traditional landline system, your call is routed directly to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point, or PSAP, and includes location address information to assist first responders. Cell phone calls are routed to the nearest PSAP as determined by which tower is receiving your cellular signal. Often, you can expect to talk to a state dispatcher, who will then patch your call to the Hanscom AFB PSAP, which is located at the fire department. If you are on the new VOIP phone network, you now simply dial 911 and your call will also be routed directly to the fire department.

On Hanscom, your call is answered by dispatchers located in the fire department, who then send fire or medical resources to your location. In situations that require police response, your call is transferred to the Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC), more commonly known as the Law Enforcement Desk. From here, the Desk Sergeant will dispatch patrols to assist you.

In any emergency, the more specific the information is for the first responders to assess the situation, the better. Examples include your name, specific location, nature of the emergency, number of affected victims, type of injuries and a description of any suspected offenders. This will help ensure first responders have as much information as possible and are well prepared to assist you.

With the transition to the new phone network, we have seen an increase in accidental 911 dialing. Security forces currently responds to an average of one or two 911 hang up calls every day. This occurs most often when people are trying to dial out from their work number. Please keep in mind that in order to dial an outside line, you dial 99+1, then the 10 digit phone number. If you do accidentally dial 911, ensure you stay on the line and explain what happened. Security forces will send a patrol to your location to verify your safety. Accidental activations of the 911 system inhibit the availability of emergency resources, as they attempt to locate the caller and respond to the scene to verify their status.

With your assistance, we will continue to provide responsive emergency services and a safe environment here at Hanscom Air Force Base.

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