City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Public Service Building

“911, what’s your emergency?” a calm voice asks a panicked caller. For years, this well-known verse has been the same, spoken with an inflection that never wavers. Yet, people rarely consider the operator at the end of the line.

Upon deciphering fearful studders, raised voices, and surrounding sounds of chaos, 911 dispatchers must remain collected. But their challenges don’t end there. Even after they connect people in need to police, fire, or medical assistance, the stressful sounds they hear remain in their minds. These operations require facilities that achieve more than coordination between departments. Emergency Call Centers need to meet the psychological needs of their dispatchers.

A Historic Building, A Revolutionary New Purpose

The Philadelphia Public Service Building began its $252 million-dollar renovations in 2017 with the 911 Call Centers’ stressful mission in mind. This project needed to serve the people behind the phones as well as the public, while addressing a myriad of competing priorities. The historically certified building was originally built in 1924 as the home of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It is now home to Police and Fire Call Centers, the Medical Examiner’s Offices, Morgue, and Laboratory Services, as well as the Headquarters of the Philadelphia Police Department (including Police Administration, 6th and 9th Districts, Homicide and Central Detectives). All these services had never before been under the same roof.

However, the numerous occupants of the building were far from the only notable aspects of the project. The renovation and restoration of the building had to overcome many challenges, including schedule risks, budget threats, and disruptive events. Fortunately for the City of Philadelphia, Talson Solutions brought experience, attention to detail, and organization to the project every step of the way.

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