KCIT successfully transitions the new PSERN emergency radio system core

KCIT recently transitioned to the new Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network (PSERN) system core, which will help provide more effective and coordinated emergency responses in King County.

The PSERN Project’s dispatch center and core cutover was an important milestone because it replaced components that were unsupported by the manufacturer due to their age. The PSERN core is the “brains” of the system composed of servers, switches, routers, databases, storage units, and radio components. In essence, it is a large data center dedicated to managing the radio network primarily used by emergency personnel to coordinate incident responses.

Additionally, 17 dispatch centers and over 130 consoles were successfully transitioned at the King County Sheriff’s Office, NE King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency (NORCOM), Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Police Department, and Valley Communications (Valley Com). All King County first responders are now dispatched through the new PSERN consoles.

Over 40 million calls a year go through the current KCERCS emergency system; many of these are dispatch communications from 911 call centers. The PSERN Project is replacing the aging KCERCS system to ensure reliability. KCERCS is very near capacity; PSERN will significantly enhance capacity to get us through the next two decades. Transitioning to the new PSERN core has taken pressure off the most crucial parts of the network by implementing fully supported equipment and upgraded dispatch center consoles, plus adding more consoles to accommodate population growth.

“Since the KCERCS network was implemented, population centers have shifted east in King County,” says Ellen Whitely, KCIT’s External Affairs Program Manager for the PSERN Project. “The new PSERN network will provide coverage in areas that KCERCS does not.”

The PSERN Project is a voter-approved effort to upgrade and expand the current King County Emergency Radio Communications System (KCERCS) that is scheduled to wrap up in December 2022. King County is the lead agency for the new emergency radio system development. When complete, a new nonprofit entity, the PSERN Operator, will manage the system.

This major milestone was a success due to the hard work of KCIT, KCERCS, Motorola, the PSERN team, and the dispatch centers. Go to www.psern.org for more details about the project.