911 Center Responsibilities

Harford County 911 Center dispatcher coordinates resources for the public and the 1st responders answering the call for emergency assistance. Citizens of Harford County are protected by 12 volunteer Fire and Ambulance Companies. These dedicated men and women constantly train to maintain the highest standards of care and response available. Emergency response apparatus is maintained under strict state and local standards.
Call 911 Emergency Logo
Harford County 911 Center is a fully enhanced system offering both the telephone number and location identification associated with the called seeking help.

Our center covers the entire county including the 3 incorporated municipalities of Aberdeen, Bel Air, and Havre de Grace, along with all outlying communities. Utilizing the center's Priority Dispatch System, our dispatchers instructs the caller with a medical, fire or police emergency what to do until 1st responders arrive.

The center also dispatch calls for service from the Harford County Sheriff's Office and the county's Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Service System.

Begun back in the 1950s, Harford County Central Alarm worked out of a small room at the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department in the county seat. Many of the men and women working dispatch back then worked alone and coordinated response with a ruler and a map.

As Harford County's population began to increase, a new emergency operations center was created at the county's Public Works Complex in Forest Hill. It was staffed by 2 paid dispatchers per shift and a Chief of Operations. County funds were also provided for radio equipment and maintenance. Staffing was later increased to meeting the growing demand for services.

Upgrades & Expansion
In the early 1980s, planning began for the center to expand and upgrade its low band radio equipment to a more modern UHF system. The new center would include the 911 answering point for Harford County and additional personnel were hired to meet the demands of a growing population.

A new 911 system was activated in 1984 and the changeover to a new operations center was completed that same year. Under a new Chief of Emergency Operations, the facility became the Harford County Emergency Communications Center, part of the Administration Department's Division of Emergency Operations.

Service Enhancement
911 Services were enhanced during the following years to include Automatic Location Identification and additional computer technologies for siren systems, data transfer and alarm systems installed at the center. Staffing again was increased to include a deputy chief, 4 captains, 4 shift supervisors, and 16 public safety dispatchers.

A new Harford County Emergency Communications Center was completed in May 1998. Besides providing much needed additional space, the center included the first-ever Computer Aided Dispatch system for the fire and EMS service in Harford County. Up until then all calls for service were written on paper.

In 2004, the center converted its existing 911 telephone system to a computer based system manufactured by Plant CML.

Public Safety Radio System
In 2005 aggressive work began on the implementation of an 800 MHz trunked Public Safety Radio System, another 1st for Harford County. This system services all public safety providers within the county including the Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace police departments and the Maryland State Police Barrack D with multiple levels of redundancy to ensure uninterrupted service to the citizen and public safety providers.

A new CAD system, which incorporates Fire, EMS, Hazmat and Police calls for service in 1 system, was implemented on July 17, 2007.

Continued Growth
As Harford County's population continues to grow, so does the demand for pubic safety. The Harford County Council in early 2008 approved funds for the initial phase for a new Emergency Operations Center.