Penobscot Regional Communications Center
Penobscot County was incorporated in 1816 and the county seat is Bangor. The Penobscot River, Maine’s longest, runs through the county. It is one of Maine’s largest counties, covering over 3,550 square miles. The county borders Piscataquis County on the west and Washington and Hancock Counties on the east. Penobscot County has a population of 151,806 people.
The Penobscot Regional Communications Center is a Dispatch/Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) facility with next generation 9-1-1 capability, operated on a 24-hour basis, assigned the responsibility of receiving 9-1-1 calls and, as appropriate, directly dispatching emergency services or, through transfer routing or relay routing, passing 9-1-1 calls to public or private safety agencies for the citizens of Penobscot County. It is also the PSAP for 72,000 people who reside in Aroostook County which is the most northern county in the State of Maine. Staffing at PRCC consists of one Director, one Deputy Director, one Administrative Assistant, four Supervisors, four Senior Operators, nineteen Dispatchers, six Call Takers, 1 Training/QA Coordinator and one QA Technician.
Communication Operators are required to pass an oral board, criminal record check and polygraph before they are hired. They will then go through a Field Training Operator program which lasts anywhere from three to six months. Certifications that are mandated include:
- Emergency Medical Dispatch
- Emergency Fire Dispatch
- Certified Terminal Operator
- Next Generation 9-1-1 Training
- Obtain License through the Maine Emergency Medical Services
Each of these certifications and licenses must be renewed every two years which requires a minimum of 24 hours of specialized training.
Working in a PSAP/Dispatch Center is very fast paced and highly stressful. You must be able to multi-task and make split second decisions. PRCC handles approximately 180 9-1-1 calls and 800 calls on the in house telephone each day. We do over 4000 EMD’s a month and are responsible for the dispatching of 66 agencies in Penobscot, Aroostook and Hancock Counties. Dispatchers are required to work shift work, weekends and on holidays. When disasters happen, dispatchers are required to work when most people are with their families. Dispatchers are the first ones to be notified of a problem and then dispatch the appropriate agencies to respond. They are the true “unsung heros” of public safety.