Cumberland County's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) branched from the sheriff's office, which until 1973 had handled all emergency and community assistance calls. The residential population had grown to 215,900. This office was manned under the ambulance service by four personnel, one per 8 hour shift, 24 hours a day, every day. They handled fire and medical dispatches. Their first year yielded 9,920 calls.
EOC received it's own phone system consisting of two seven digit phone lines. To ensure calls received and all dispatches were handled correctly and for the protection of this office, a Dictaphone recorder was added. A Ceta worker was brought in to assist the dispatcher with the clerical documentation of the dispatch center.
Fayetteville, Cumberland County's largest city, began sending Fire Medic Units to emergency medical calls within the city limits in 1976. These units carried Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's) with basic life support and first aid capabilities to the scene quickly.
The County implemented the basic 9-1-1 system in 1980. It consisted of five 9-1-1 trunks and two seven digit lines for the Dunn exchange and Star telephone exchange. The County Data Processing Department began working with EOC to create a computerized database of street locations and dispatch response zones. This was the beginning of EOC's computer aided dispatch system.
In 1982 a second fire channel was added to handle fire ground communications. A full time supervisor was also added to the department in 1982. The calls logged this year were 20,892.
Ronald "Doc" Nunnery, as supervisor implemented an in-depth training program and initiated twelve hour shifts to alleviate the stress of working eight hour shifts, seven days a week. A third fire channel was also added for fire ground command. By 1984 the call volume had risen to 24,694.
Department status was granted in 1986 and was headed by Doc Nunnery. It's official name was Emergency Dispatch. Restructuring of dispatch responsibilities were put in place resulting in the addition of a third position in 1987. Telecomunicator's I, II, and III, I as the call taker, II as the fire dispatcher, and III as the EMS dispatcher and Shift Supervisor.
The National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch presents a protocol for dispatching Emergency Medical calls. Seventeen people from EOC attended the NAEMD class in March of 1989. By July EOC was fully operational as a National Emergency Medical Dispatch Center.
Ten UHF Med. Channel's were added in 1990 to replace the overloaded VHF radio system that had been used since the early 1970s. Emergency Communications Center, as it is now known, became a State CMED with the implementation of this system. This system allowed for statewide communications between hospitals and emergency medical units.
Emergency Communications Center is renowned for setting the stage and standards for Emergency Dispatch. This level of professionalism, dedication to perfection and persistence to consistent improvement has earned National Accreditation of Emergency Dispatch Protocol in 1998. Awarded as the First Center of Excellence in North Carolina, twenty-first in the world and fourteenth in the United States.
The year 2000 brings advancements in computer and radio technologies and reconstruction of the dispatch center as the Director and Deputy Director move into their own offices giving the dispatch room more space for the future.