Bringing More 911 Dispatch Centers into the NWSChat Sphere (119)

Mark Burchfield, NOAA/National Weather Service, Springfield, MO



The National Weather Service instant messaging service, NWSChat, has been an instrumental tool in getting important key messages and information to NWS core partners. The primary core partner groups that have utilized NWSChat are: Emergency Managers, Media and National Weather Service Meteorologists, although some local storm spotter and amateur radio groups also utilize NWSChat.

An initiative was begun to bring in local 911 dispatch centers. The basis behind this was that 911 dispatch centers operate, in many respects, similar to the National Weather Service. Both are 24-hour operational centers that disseminate critical information to a group of people or partner agencies. Dispatch centers are also excellent information center hubs that can, in turn, relay information to the NWS. Numerous site visits have been made to local 911 dispatch centers by local NWS meteorologists. The NWS has learned a great deal about their operations, provided training on NWSchat, and even run through some demonstrations with them. The NWS has increased 911 dispatch centers in chat six-fold over the past few years.

As an example, during the evening of January 21, 2018, a supercell went just south of Mount Vernon, Missouri. Radar operators detected tornadic debris signatures, and conveyed their locations over NWSchat. This allowed the 911 dispatchers to advise their medical and fire personnel of the location of tornado debris. Building relationships with the 911 dispatch centers will continue to enhance decision support services for the National Weather Service.