Beyond the Data Center – 911 Call Centers

Backup power for emergency services

When the phrase ‘mission-critical environment’ is used, it’s most often referring to a data center. But the reality is that there are many other environments out there that can be considered just as critical. Municipal service facilities such as 911 call centers or emergency dispatch centers are excellent examples of this.

Both of these agencies have some type of backup system in the event of a power loss – typically an automatic rollover to another facility and/or a diesel generator. Both are must-haves for ensuring the safety of area residents and keeping critical systems going. But neither are failsafe. What happens if backup power doesn’t kick on for minutes, hours, or not at all? At best, frustrated callers and delayed response time. At worse, life or death consequences.

The switchover to a generator is neither instantaneous nor seamless. It only takes a momentary disruption of power, or even a surge or spike, to cause major problems – emergency services can be compromised, and vital equipment can be damaged. As an added layer of protection, many municipalities are supplementing their call center backup systems with Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS).

How the Uninterrupted Power Supply Works

When regular power is interrupted and generator power is not immediately available, your UPS takes over and provides temporary backup power from a stored source such as batteries or a flywheel. Just as important, they also provide “clean” power, taking care of any power surges, jitter and such, which can damage sensitive IT equipment.

Advantages of Using a UPS

  • Continuity: Experience no outages to critical systems or equipment. Power to the facility, IT infrastructure will remain operational.
  • Consistency: Electronics within a UPS tells it when it needs to work and kicks in alternate power as needed. This capability eliminates glitches or surges and allows time to safely shut down main systems if needed.
  • Protection: A UPS safeguards against all the oddities of electricity such as surges, spikes, dips and failure. It essentially senses those things and switches to alternate power before the anomalies cause damage.

UPS Selection Considerations

There are two types of UPS systems – battery UPS and flywheel UPS. A battery UPS stores energy and converts it to electrical power through a chemical reaction. Conversely, a flywheel UPS is battery-free, using kinetic energy to produce stored DC power. Both systems condition power and provide reliable backup in the event of a utility failure. The key functional differences between the two systems involve the space requirements, environmental impacts, the runtime, and the costs.

CEG is helping 911 call centers, police and fire dispatch centers, and other municipal agencies across the country incorporate UPS systems into their backup power plans. From configuration to procurement, our experts will assist our government-purchasing customers with all their power and infrastructure needs.

Continuous Operation, Continuous Power

Government and municipal services that require continuous operation for the reasons of public safety, emergency management, national security or business continuity:

  • 911 call centers
  • Police, fire, civil defense facilities including dispatch centers
  • Communications centers, telephone exchanges, cellular tower sites
  • Air traffic control centers
  • Hospitals and associated support facilities
  • Transportation infrastructure –airports, rail stations, seaports
  • Water and sewer treatment facilities
  • Chemical, petrochemical, and hazardous material (including biohazard) handling facilities
  • Financial, banking, business data processing facilities
  • Fuel supply pumping stations
  • Offices and facilities deemed critical to continuity of government