Alameda County dispatch center marks 10th anniversary at LLNL

Robert H Hirschfeld, LLNL, (925) 422-2379, hirschfeld2@llnl.gov

The ACRECC dispatch center.

An antique Alameda County Fire Department fire engine that has been converted into a barbeque grill was brought to the LLNL picnic area for the celebration of ACRECC's tenth anniversary.
The Alameda County Regional Emergency Communication Center (ACRECC), housed in Bldg. 313 at the Laboratory, celebrated a decade of service with a barbeque picnic last week.

ACRECC serves the cities of Alameda, Dublin, Fremont, Newark, San Leandro and Union City; the communities of Castro Valley, Cherryland, Ashland, San Lorenzo and Sunol; Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley, and Sandia national laboratories, Camp Parks Combat Support Training Center, all of unincorporated Alameda County, and is the Dispatch/System Status Management Center for Paramedics Plus ambulance service.

The idea of a regional emergency communication system first germinated in the aftermath of the disastrous 1991 Oakland Hills fire. That fire was so widespread, mutual aid assistance was required from many neighboring jurisdictions. Unfortunately, their radios weren't always capable of monitoring each other's communication frequencies.

So they held meetings, made plans and spent money, all resulting in a lot of improvements. But some fire officials felt the best solution would be to establish a unified dispatch center, able to monitor and broadcast to multiple departments from one centralized location.

The first steps were taken in 1999. A consultant recommended using LLNL's existing dispatching center.

ACRECC dispatcher Amber Douglas is ready for an emergency call.
Getting the necessary approvals from the Department of Energy proved to be difficult. But finally, on March 25, 2002, 10 new employees were hired to augment the LLNL fire department dispatch staff, with joint operations beginning about six weeks later.

Last year, ACRECC handled more than 130,000 emergency calls, more than half of them involving medical responses.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provides solutions to our nation's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.