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Kern County Fire ECC


Kern County Fire Emergency Communications Center was an early adopter of Mercury workstations. In fact, the team's feedback helped us fine-tune product details that benefit operators sitting at Mercury today. We recently visited Kern County to discover how the team has adjusted to the modern console style.

New style better for space planning and operator health.

It has been just over four years since Kern County Fire 911 moved into their updated space. Looking at the dispatching area, it's hard to believe it has been that long. It looks as pristine as week one's move-in.

The monochromatic workstation finishes, flooring and walls are punctuated by soft blue-green striated textiles found on the workstation screens. Equipment is discreetly stored, cables gracefully managed, personal belongings tucked away. Everything is in its place, the room is clean, and the dispatchers sit, or stand, comfortably behind expansive work spaces.

The look and feel of this center is a testament to the team's pride in their work space and to choosing the right tools for the job, including the workstations.

Q & A with Melinda Hunley, Kern County Fire ECC Communications Manager

Q: The Kern team previously had Watson. What about your experience influenced choosing Watson again?

A: Our previous Watson consoles were extremely well built. We still are using two from our first Watson purchase in 1997 in our expanded Dispatch room. We also had amazing customer service through our Watson regional sales rep. When we needed assistance they are always prompt in responding.

kern floorplan

Q: As early Mercury adopters, what inspired you to try something so new?

A: At the time the Mercury consoles were being designed, our center was in the process of building a new comm center in a re-purposed building. Our dispatch room was a very large rectangular shaped room and our sales person immediately realized what a perfect fit the Mercury would be for our project. We loved the look, space and design and agreed that they were the perfect fit for our new center.


Q: Are there specific pain points your team experienced sitting in corner configurations that are now relieved?

A: Yes! The top three benefits to our team, and agency, are:

  1. more room for training and working on projects,
  2. it's much easier to clean and keep nice under the consoles,
  3. and our repetitive motion injuries for shoulder and neck issues have also reduced significantly.

Q: Which Mercury features are most appreciated by your dispatchers?

A: Personal space and the feeling that they have more control over their work space environment. Being able to stand comfortably while dispatching has been a big benefit.


About Kern County Fire ECC

The Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is responsible for receiving and dispatching all fire, medical and rescue calls within the 8,000 square miles of Kern County. ECC receives transferred calls from 17 different law enforcement agencies and gives calls to 3 different private ambulance companies. ECC’s current staffing includes 22 full-time dispatchers, 6 supervisors, 1 manager & 2 duty officers. During fire season 1 additional duty officer and 2 additional extra-help positions assist with the wild-land resource ordering. Melinda Hunley, Communications Manager is pictured at the 2014 opening of the current Kern County Fire ECC location.