Central Fire Alarm
The Amherst Central Fire Alarm Office is the central agency assigned to dispatch the fire, rescue and emergency medical first responder units for 16 volunteer fire departments covering 158 square miles of territory over the northern portion of Erie County in the Towns of Amherst, Clarence, Newstead and the Villages of Williamsville and Akron. Over 16,200 emergency requests for assistance are dispatched each year with the office processing over 100,000 incoming and outgoing telephone calls.
Supervising Fire Dispatcher Stephen W. Matisz Jr. manages the office, staffed by 10 full-time Certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers. Most of the dispatchers are firefighters in the Town of Amherst and have over 300 years of combined fire service experience, many of these years in the officer ranks with some of the dispatchers having served as the Chief of their respective department.
The dispatchers are recognized as emergency service professionals who play a key role on the fire/rescue team. They are trained to deal with a variety of emergency situations and to interact, assist and coordinate resources with the firefighters on the scene at various emergency scenes. They regularly attend training schools to keep abreast of the ever changing fields of the fire service. They are the calming voice you hear on the other end of the phone when you call for help; providing pre-arrival instructions so you can begin to provide care or give you directions to get you out safely. Working as a team they receive emergency requests for assistance and dispatch the required emergency response simultaneously.
In the early days of 1962 the dispatch office conditions were very cramped but as we move forward into the 21st century the fire dispatch will see some more significant changes to their operations as they saw with their move to their current operations center in 1979. Additional radio frequencies have been obtained for the fire service, great advances in computer technology and state-of-the-art work stations will only enhance the operations of this very professional and dedicated staff of fire service specialists. They are the first and most important link in the chain of survival.
For information on how to obtain a copy of a fire, emergency medical report or arrange for a tour of the office, contact Amherst Fire Control on their Administrative line at 689.1212.