One of the keys to limiting damage caused by fire is the response time. NFPA 1710 sets a goal for all fire departments to respond to a fire within 6 minutes. Response time is defined as the time from when a 911 call is first received to the time a fire truck arrives on scene. Part of this 6-minute window is 1 minute for dispatch time.
Basic 911 Service is an emergency telephone system that automatically connects 911 callers to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). Enhanced-911 service does the same plus shows the caller’s name, street address, and telephone number to the PSAP. This allows the PSAP to identify the caller’s location automatically if the caller is unable to communicate this information verbally to the PSAP call taker.
All calls to 911 are routed to the appropriate PSAP. Many PSAP centers will transfer a call to a local dispatch center. Many dispatch centers dispatch for multiple agencies and multiple communities. There are approximately 86 local dispatch centers in New Hampshire, approximately 57 local dispatch centers in Maine. approximately 44 local dispatch centers in Vermont, approximately 54 local dispatch centers in Rhode Island with all but one being specific to its community and many communities have one for fire and one for police.
There are almost 23,700 dispatch centers in the United States of which approximately 6,900 are PSAP centers. Many of these dispatch centers are regional dispatch centers serving multiple agencies. The following document lists the PSAP centers in each New England State, what formula they use to charge member town, what dispatch services they are capable of providing and what are the local dispatch centers in the six New England States.