911 center to celebrate 20 years.

September 3, 2015

Mason-Oceana 911WEARE TOWNSHIP (Oceana County) — Mason-Oceana 911 will celebrate its 20 year anniversary with a public open house on Saturday, September 19 from 1 to 5 p.m.  The event will include facility tours by the 911 staff and 911 board members, public education for adults and kids, food (hot dogs, chips, etc) and unprecedented access to the Mason-Oceana 911 facility and operation.

“On September 11, 1995 at 9:11 p.m., Mason-Oceana 911 went live”, said Ray Hasil, director of Mason-Oceana 911.  “In that era the concept of two counties sharing a single dispatch center was unheard of.  It was an idea years ahead of its time;  911 centers around the state and country continue to consolidate as budgets and resources continue to shrink.”

Over the years the primary purpose of Mason-Oceana 911 has remained the same- to get help where it is needed.  But that’s the only thing that is still the same.  “Information and communications are critical on every incident.  As advances in technologies have evolved over the years, so too have advances in information and communication technologies”.

Because of this the 911 staff has also had to keep up with all those changes.  A 911 dispatcher’s workstation consists of an array of radio and computer systems.  With more technology advances like next-generation 911 and a nationwide public safety broadband network (FirstNet) on the horizon, there is no sign that those technology advances will slow down.

“There will be a time when 911 centers are fed real-time information from smart devices (phones, watches, glasses, etc).  Phone calls will be just one way that 911 can be reached for assistance.  Information will be recorded and fed right back out to responders on their way to the incident”.

Most people who drive past the building on Oceana Drive have no idea what it is.  “A lot of people don’t know what we do inside these walls,” Hasil said.  The Mason-Oceana 911 facility and emergency operations center in Weare Township was opened in August of 2003.  The hardened facility and radio tower on a hill seem out of place with fields surrounding it.  “We want the public and agencies we serve to see our operation and understand there is a lot more going on than just a telephone and a radio”.

Mason-Oceana 911 is located at 9160 N. Oceana Drive, approximately one-half mile east of US 31.