Most aspects of firefighting, rescue and emergency medical service are directly influenced by the Communications Center. Contact with a dispatcher at the Fire Communications Center is most often the first link in a chain of events that ensures a person will receive assistance from the Fire Department. The expedient and accurate handling of calls for help are significant factors in the successful outcome of emergency events.
In April 1995, the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department Communications Center was relocated from 414 E. 22nd St. to 1111 Locust St. and was dedicated to Charles Gray, veteran news reporter and longtime friend of the department. The Fire Communications Center dispatches approximately 150 calls each day with an increasing number of requests being for services other than fire emergencies.
Emergency medical services, vehicular accidents, hi-angle rescue, trench rescue and water rescue are but a few of the calls that are increasing with an alarming speed. Emergency medical calls account for nearly 70 percent of all dispatched calls.
The Communications Center operates under the direction of Deputy Chief Sal Monteleone. Superintendent Larry Gonnello oversees the technical and day-to-day operations of a four-platoon system. A chief dispatcher heads each platoon with a crew of four additional people. Crews work 12-hour shifts, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Chief Dispachers are Kye Barrett, Robert Carlson, Jerry Harrington and William Murphy.
Emergency calls at the Fire Communications Center are generally received from 911 call takers or by someone dialing the 816-513-0911 emergency telephone number. When calling for help, please speak slowly and clearly. Be prepared to give the following information:
- Address of the emergency
- Nature of the problem including any hazardous material involved
- If anybody is trapped or injured
All non-emergency requests for help should be made by calling 816-513-0900.