The Hanover Emergency Communications Department has joined an elite group of communication centers in the world by becoming accredited in all three public safety protocol disciplines.
Hanover County Emergency Communications is the first in the state of Virginia to attain Triple ACE status. The agency recently became the world’s 14th Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) in the Fire Priority Dispatch System and the 18th center in the world to achieve ACE for its use of the Police Priority Dispatch System. Hanover was already the world’s 123rd ACE for its use of the Medical Priority Dispatch System. By achieving ACE in all three protocols, Hanover becomes the 16th emergency dispatch center in the world to attain International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED™) status as a Triple ACE and is one of only 12 centers to hold the distinction currently.
Hanover County Emergency Communications Quality Assurance Senior Supervisor Stacey Adams, who led the ACE process in achieving accreditation, is thrilled with this amazing accomplishment. As a team of dedicated professionals Hanover County exerted much time and expertise to successfully navigate this ACE process for all three protocols — police, fire, and medical.
“It’s a big accomplishment and a team effort,” Adams said. “It was long overdue. We’ve been doing all three (Medical, Fire, and Police dispatching) for a while, so we decided we might as well go for it. We were not leaving 2019 without attaining Tri-ACE.”
ACE inspires agencies to provide superior, up-to-date public care and to employ the most efficient use of resources when handling any emergency call situation thrown at them. Accreditation, in each of the systems, requires a detailed self-assessment based on the Academy's Twenty Points of Accreditation. In order to achieve triple accreditation, agencies must meet or exceed all twenty points of accreditation, which requires participation from everyone from the Department Director to the individual emergency dispatcher.
When callers speak with dispatchers at ACE agencies in medical, police, or fire emergencies, they can have confidence and peace of mind that their call will be properly assessed and that they will receive a high level of service. A Tri-ACE agency displays an even greater level of competency and adherence to the ACE standards. Such an agency has expert command of all IAED protocols, resulting in enhanced response for callers in need.
“Being a Tri-ACE lets callers know that we put them first,” Adams said. “Their well-being and care are important to us. We take pride in what we do and love our jobs. Callers can feel our sincerity and compassion.”
For each of the three disciplines, the Academy’s Board of Accreditation reviews the center’s application and documentation of the Twenty Points and arranges for an intensive on-site visit by an Academy representative.
“Achieving a Tri-ACE status is the crowning accomplishment for a communication center,” said IAED Chair of Accreditation Christof C. Chwojka. “Hanover’s Tri-accreditation is a testament to its total buy-in from the entire staff.”
Hanover Fire/EMS Chief Jethro Piland, Sheriff David R. Hines and County Administrator Cecil R. “Rhu” Harris Jr. congratulated Emergency Communications on their team’s accomplishment.
“I am very proud of our Emergency Communications Center for achieving their Triple Accreditation Distinction”, Piland said. “Their hard work and dedication towards Medical, Fire, and Police dispatching will ultimately benefit the citizens and visitors of Hanover County. I am thankful for their efforts and would like to congratulate them on their achievement.”
“There has always been a special connection between the Hanover Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Communication Center (ECC) personnel,” said Sheriff Hines. “Working closely together in high paced or difficult situations has developed partnerships that are often the envy of our peers. In addition, the voice on the police radio is that companion not only sending us where we need to go, but keeping us safe with critical information. We view our ECC partners as our lifeline in the field and understand their job is highly stressful. They have to possess keen listening skills and be great communicators. They must be creative and innovative as well as excellent at multitasking! The Tri-ACE accreditation affirms this and more. It confirms what we have known for years and sets a foundation for consistent operation and support in the future.”
“Being the first emergency communications department in Virginia to achieve this accreditation is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Hanover County Administrator Rhu Harris. “Our emergency communications personnel are key to keeping County residents safe and I am proud to receive notice that their work has been recognized in this way.”
There are currently nearly 200 centers throughout the world that currently have the ACE distinction among the 3,500 centers worldwide using the fire, police medical, nurse triage protocols for safe and efficient response to the wide variety of emergency situations.
“We’re going to continue learning as much as we can,” Adams said. “We’re going to keep excelling.”