In carrying out our mission we recognize that service is our one and only product and our continuing goal is to provide it at a level superior to any other communications center. The source of our strength rests in our people who define and shape the organization through their individual and unique contributions developed in a spirit of cooperation and teamwork.
Montgomery County created its first communications center in 1956 and had an initial staff of 6 employees. Today, staffing at the emergency communications center has been approved for 128 Telecommunicators, 12 Supervisors, 12 technical staff, and 14 administrative employees.
The emergency communications center receives 9-1-1 and other emergency phone calls placed from locations within Montgomery County. We also receive non-emergency phone calls. The center provides call processing and dispatch services for 92 fire departments, 20 EMS squads, 50 police agencies, and other various County agencies. Radio communications are maintained through a sophisticated, multi-frequency system which utilizes transmission and reception equipment located at the communications center and numerous other sites throughout the coverage area.
The primary means of communication employed by Montgomery County 9-1-1 are the telephone, radio, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, Mobile Data Computers (MDC), and the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network (CLEAN).
The Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Communications Division holds the Communications Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®), effective until 2025. MCDPS received initial accreditation on November 19, 2011 and has now been reaccredited three times. The Department of Public Safety is the only PSAP/Communications Center in Pennsylvania to currently hold a CALEA® Communications Accreditation.
As part of the Department of Public Safety’s ongoing reaccreditation process and to promote community trust and engagement, members of the public have the opportunity to provide feedback via CALEA®’s online portal: https://cimrs2.calea.org/673.
The purpose of this public portal is to receive comments regarding the Department of Public Safety’s compliance with CALEA® standards, engagement in the service community, delivery of public safety services, and overall candidacy for accredited status. These comments can be in the form of commendations or concerns. The overall intent of the accreditation process is to provide the Department of Public Safety with information to support continuous improvement, as well as foster the pursuit of professional excellence.
9-1-1: Landline vs. Cellular
The number 9-1-1 is the number most people in the U.S., and some internationally, call to get help in a police, fire, or medical emergency. A 9-1-1 call made over a landline in Montgomery County goes directly to the 9-1-1 center. When using a cellular phone to call 9-1-1, be aware that if you are near the border of Montgomery County and your call hits a cellular tower in a neighboring county, your call will be routed to that county’s Emergency Communications Center. When giving the location, be sure to say “I’m calling from Montgomery County.” That way, if your call ended up in a neighboring county, they can transfer you quickly so that help can get to you quicker.
9-1-1 should be used in any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, the fire department, or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 9-1-1. It’s better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.
- Never say “nine eleven,” since there is no 11 on the telephone keypad. Always say “nine one one.”
- Always call 9-1-1 from a safe place. If there is a fire in the house, get out first, then call 9-1-1. If there is an intruder in the house, hide or get out to call 9-1-1 from a safe place.
- Know your address – have it posted near the telephone.
- Rural residents should post directions to their house.
- Never call 9-1-1 as a prank or joke. You could get into trouble, your parents could get into trouble, and you could keep someone who really needs help from getting it.
- 9-1-1 is for people, not animals. If you have a problem with a pet, you should call your veterinarian.
- If you are not sure if you have an emergency, call 9-1-1 and explain your problem to the 9-1-1 call taker.
- If you call 9-1-1 by accident, please don’t hang up. When the call taker answers, explain that you called 9-1-1 by mistake and that you do not have an emergency.
On July 20, 2015, the Montgomery County Commissioners announced that wireless phone customers have the ability to send short text messages to 9-1-1 in an emergency. At this time, Text-to-911 is only available to subscribers of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.
Text-to-911 may be most helpful in these emergency situations:
- By individuals who have speech or hearing impairments, or who are having a medical emergency that renders them incapable of speech;
- Or in instances when making noise may endanger the caller, such as a home invasion/robbery, or instances of domestic violence or an abduction.
Call if you Can, Text if you Can’t! For additional information on Text-to-911 and its limitations, please visit https://www.montcopa.org/2219/Text-to-911.
9-1-1 Quality Assurance
If you recently experienced the need to call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance, please take a few moments to complete this Emergency Dispatch Services Quality Improvement Survey. If you would like to submit a complaint or offer other comments, please click here.
Funding for 9-1-1
Each household or business pays a small monthly fee for 9-1-1 service on each telephone line that appears on their phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 9-1-1. However, EMS/ambulances dispatched through 9-1-1 may charge for taking someone to the hospital. This is a separate ambulance charge, not a 9-1-1 charge.