Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency recognized for reaccreditation as center of excellence

Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency, under the Public Safety Department, has successfully completed the intensive 20-step process to become an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE). The communication center is the 36th emergency dispatch center in the world to attain the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAED) status as an ACE for its use of the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS®).  This distinction places it among the very highest-performing emergency dispatch agencies worldwide.

ACE inspires agencies to perform superior, up-to-date public care and to employ efficient use of resources when handling all emergency call situations. An accreditation lasts three years. In order to achieve reaccreditation, agencies must meet or exceed the same standards required in the initial accreditation, which requires participation from everyone in the department. Because ACE agencies abide by these standards and have fulfilled these requirements, callers can have peace of mind knowing their needs will always be appropriately addressed and that they will receive the help they need.

This is the sixth time Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency has accredited for its use of the MPDS. It is the only Medical ACE in Pennsylvania, and it is also one of two agencies in the state to attain ACE status for use of the Fire Priority Dispatch System™ (FPDS®).  

“This reaccreditation validates what we do and the high-quality standards we have achieved through training and experience,” said Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries, who oversees the county’s Public Safety Department. “We’ve always known our dispatchers were the very best. It’s wonderful to hear that assessment confirmed by a recognized and respected agency.”

 Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency Qualify Assurance Coordinator David Shade said he and his colleagues are pleased with this recognition. He said the honor validates everyone’s dedication to the ACE process and to serving the community.

 “Each time we reaccredit, it reaffirms a job well done,” Shade said. “Our emergency dispatchers definitely look at it as a high achievement. It makes us proud to stand out among other dispatch centers. This is huge; it’s a morale booster for the agency.”

Shade said to attain this distinction, everyone in the center must adhere to the ACE program and work diligently to meet all the qualifications. He said this attitude starts in the communication center with management and trickles down to every employee.  

Just as it does for the initial accreditation, the IAED’s Board of Accreditation reviews the center’s application and documentation of the Twenty Points.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into reaccrediting as an ACE,” said IAED Chair of Accreditation Christof C. Chwojka. “We’re certainly proud of Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency and its dedication to this process.”

Not only does the ACE distinction hold significant value for the agency’s management and staff, but the county commissioners said it also should mean a lot to the residents they serve. 

“Earning this mark of excellence demonstrates the level of training, readiness and professionalism of our dispatchers,” said Dauphin County Chairman Jeff Haste. “If you call the 911 center, on the line will be a well-trained professional to give lifesaving instructions.”

There are currently more than 190 centers throughout the world that have the Medical ACE distinction among the 3,500 centers worldwide using the fire, police, medical, and nurse triage protocols for safe and efficient response to the wide variety of emergency situations.

“Dispatchers handle hundreds of calls for help every day,” said Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “It’s only right that we strive to the highest standards of excellence to serve the public at their greatest time of need.”