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OUC Statement on the Launch of PowerPhone

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Office of Unified Communications (OUC) transitioned to the PowerPhone Total Response, a standards-based 911 call processing system which allows information to be instantly sent to dispatch, so callers receive quicker emergency response during their time of need. Used by more than 700 agencies across the country, the system offers a proven questioning approach that enhances caller and responder safety. OUC continues to work closely with DC Fire and EMS and the Metropolitan Police Department to ensure a smooth transition and continued topnotch emergency response.

Background:

  • The District began the integration of PowerPhone as the OUC call processing system in 2022.
  • In FY 2023, OUC handled approximately 1.77 million 911 calls for service. In comparison, OUC handled 1.60 million in 2022. The District’s 911 call center is one of the busiest in the country, historically ranking as the 4th busiest center behind those of New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
  • So far in the month of February 2024, OUC has answered over 91% of 911 calls in 15 seconds or less, meeting the national standard set by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
  • Under Director McGaffin’s leadership, OUC has hired more call takers in the past eight months than were hired in the entirety of 2021 and 2022 combined - and has worked to divert more calls that may not require an immediate response from FEMS or MPD.
  • For additional information about OUC, please refer to Director McGaffin’s testimony to Council on February 8: https://ouc.dc.gov/release/testimony-director-heather-mcgaffin-fy23-agency-performance-oversight-hearing
  • OUC continues to focus on the hiring, retention, and training of our staff to build upon the trust and confidence residents have in us.