County Breaks Ground on Regional Fire Communications Center

By the County of Santa Barbara

The County of Santa Barbara broke ground today, April 25, 2023, on the Regional Fire Communications Center which includes an expansion of the Emergency Operations Center.  The Regional Fire Communications Center and Emergency Operations Center expansion is being added onto the existing Emergency Operations Center building located at 4408 Cathedral Oaks Road in Santa Barbara. The construction of the Center is an important step towards the creation of a dispatch center dedicated to calls for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and fire response. This change in dispatch functions was first approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on July 12, 2017.

The Center will provide dispatch services for all emergency medical services as well as seven fire departments in the county: Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, Santa Barbara City Fire Department, Montecito Fire Protection District, Lompoc Fire Department, Guadalupe Fire Protection District, and Santa Maria Fire Department.

“This groundbreaking is truly a significant moment stemming for city/county co-operation.  This new space will help us get the closest fire or emergency resource to you, regardless of borders or which government that resource comes from,” shared Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Das Williams.

As part of the launch, dispatch call takers will be hired and trained to answer 95% of 9-1-1 calls within 15 seconds of the first ring. The call-takers will provide each emergency call received with appropriate assistance, including pre-arrival instructions.

Renderings of the new building (courtesy)

“The Center will improve emergency services by streamlining the dispatch process, reducing call processing times, dispatching the closest resource, and creating a seamless response,” said County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. “This project is the culmination of hard work, commitment, and collaboration between the Operational Area Fire Chiefs and local governments.” He added, “We look forward to celebrating this exciting milestone in the development of emergency services in Santa Barbara County.”

The Center will also be an expansion of the existing Emergency Operation Center and will include a Joint Information Center and Call Center to support the communication needs of Santa Barbara County residents during emergencies.

The project is being led by County General Services.  General Services worked with the County Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management on design and will be managing the construction project. Local businesses were hired for the project, RRM Design Group designed the building and Edwards Construction Group is the contractor for the project.

The project has a total cost estimated at $17,624,666.00.  The Center is anticipated to open for service in Spring 2024.


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