Fairfax County 9-1-1: Innovating Emergency Response for the Future

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Image of Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill with Scott Brillman, director of the Department of Public Safety Communications


In the July episode of “Connect with County Leaders,” Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill talks with Scott Brillman, director of the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC), also known as Fairfax County 9-1-1. 

The conversation highlighted the center’s recent achievements and future plans to enhance emergency response services.



Brillman announced that DPSC recently welcomed its largest class ever of recruits. This success came from rethinking their recruitment strategies.

“We had to look at what we were doing for the past 20 years, and look at things that didn't work, and tweak things,” Brillman explained. “We brought a team of our folks from all over the center and our HR team, and we looked at how we were interviewing and how we were doing social media and how we were testing folks, and we changed things around.”



As one of the largest public safety answering points in the United StatesFairfax County 9-1-1 is leading the way in emergency response technology. 

“In the next few months, we're updating our systems to be able to handle a lot more than a phone call. And so, in the future, you’ll be calling 9-1-1 through video, of course text message, you can send us pictures. But this system can also send us data, data from your vehicle, from your refrigerator, from your alarm system.”

One of the most impressive innovations is the center’s upcoming ability to instantly translate over 170 languages using AI technology. This feature will significantly improve access to emergency services for non-English speakers in Fairfax County’s diverse community.



Recognizing the high-stress nature of emergency dispatch work, Fairfax County 9-1-1 has implemented several measures to support staff mental health:

  • Quiet rooms and a gym for stress relief
  • A full kitchen for healthy meals
  • Rocking chairs for comfort
  • An on-site mental health clinician
  • Access to a health and wellness center
  • A peer support team


"It doesn't matter what community you're in, it doesn't matter what you look like, where you came from, what language you speak, or if you have a disability, you must be able to reach 9-1-1 when you need help." - Scott Brillman, Department of Public Safety Communitcations



Looking ahead, Brillman envisions a future where emergency response is even more immediate and visual:

“Where I want to be in five years is when you need help, you can FaceTime us. You don't have to talk. We can see what's going on. If you’re having a medical emergency, we don't have to ask you a whole bunch of questions that sometimes are frustrating. We have a clinician in the center or a paramedic or a nurse that can see your injury, and we can deploy resources immediately to you.”

As Fairfax County 9-1-1 continues to innovate and improve, it remains committed to its motto: “Always there...always ready...24/7/365.”

The center’s dedication to excellence ensures that residents and visitors have access to world-class emergency services whenever they need them.



The “Connect with County Leaders” podcast is a monthly opportunity to meet and connect with Fairfax County leaders, to learn about the latest county news and information, and hear more on specific programs and services in Fairfax County.

Listen or watch past episodes of “Connect with County Leaders” on SoundCloud, on YouTube and on Channel 16’s podcast on demand page. For other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts, and for additional audio content, tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio.

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