WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Aug. 22, 2005 -- InterAct Public Safety Systems, a supplier of public safety technology systems used by local, state, national and international government agencies, today announced that Renton Technical College's acclaimed Emergency Dispatcher Program in Renton, Wash., has trained its latest class of graduates in a uniquely configured simulated dispatch environment using systems supplied by InterAct.
Earlier this year RTC's dispatcher training program upgraded its classroom and laboratory equipment to create a hands-on learning environment that resembles a true public safety call center. The class of 12 that graduated Aug. 11 is the first to complete the five-month, 630-hour program using the system based on InterAct's Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) platform.
Unlike most other dispatcher training programs, RTC trains students with fully functional dispatch systems in every classroom session, with two-way role playing that allows the students to become familiar with the technologies and processes dispatchers use.
''Here at Renton Technical College we strive to train our students on the latest technologies so they can perform to the best of their ability and boost the productivity of their employers in business, industry and government,'' said Noreen Light, instructor in Renton Technical College's Emergency Dispatcher Program. ''Using InterAct's CAD systems in a simulated dispatch environment, our students gained the kind of unique knowledge and hands-on experience they need to walk into a demanding dispatch job and perform at a high level.''
The RTC system integrates InterAct's CAD, GIS Mapping and Super Enhanced 911 telephone systems with a leading dispatch software application to create a functional dispatch center environment.
The two-way communications center is set up in a laboratory and an adjoining classroom. The lab includes 10 computer-aided dispatch stations around the perimeter with three monitors connected to each station. Each station is connected through a dedicated phone line and network connection to a phone and computer in the classroom.
A simulated exercise would have one student calling from the classroom announcing an emergency to his lab partner, who is acting as a dispatcher in the lab. As the dispatcher verifies with the caller the information that the InterAct system displays on the dispatcher's screen, the dispatcher processes the information and communicates by radio to a mobile unit.
The student in the classroom then assumes the role of the officer, receiving the commands from the dispatcher. Through the whole exercise, the student in the classroom can view on his own computer screen the processes his lab partner goes through entering and evaluating the information on the call.
Instructor Light said the InterAct systems' intuitive features and interfaces have made it much easier for students with varying levels of computer knowledge to learn the dispatching process quickly.
''We've had students sit down and figure it out in a flash,'' Light said. ''In a half hour they were starting to take calls. They can't stop telling me how much they love it.''
Using the InterAct systems, Renton Technical College students learn radio dispatching techniques, terminology, abbreviations and protocol used by police, fire and emergency medical agencies. They also learn methods used to successfully handle crisis calls characteristically received by a 9-1-1 operator and develop multi-tasking skills by practicing receipt of multiple phone requests for public safety responses, questions from the public and complaints.