The Raleigh-Wake 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary today. Mayor Nancy McFarlane has proclaimed January 12, 2012 the 40th Anniversary of the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications to honor this milestone.
Since its founding in January of 1972, the center has rendered essential public safety communications that have substantially contributed to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires and saving of lives; not only within the City of Raleigh, but throughout Wake County and the participating municipalities.
For the past 40 years when an area resident dialed 9-1-1, a trained telecommunications professional was ready to assist the caller and send the help needed. During the past four decades, the emergency communications center has seen growth in demand that mirrors the growth in the community. In the period between 2000 and 2010 alone, the number of emergency incidents dispatched grew by more than one third. Now, more than a million telephone calls are received or made by the staff each year.
Over the course of its history, the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center has played an integral part in mitigating emergencies, both large and small. Included among the more noteworthy incidents are the crash of a commuter aircraft near Raleigh Durham International Airport in 1988, Hurricane Fran in 1996, the ConAgra explosion and fire in 2009, and the killer tornadoes of 2011. Severe weather events are particularly challenging as they directly impact the most citizens and place greater demands upon the center.