Willimantic Switchboard Fire Chief's Association
In 1950, the City of Willimantic installed a
“PBX board” (aka switchboard)
in the rear corner of the fire station on Bank Street.
On-duty firefighters manned the switchboard 24 hours per day,
dispatching sixteen fire departments--at the peak.
It is said to be the first regional dispatch center in Connecticut.
Around the same time,
the City of Willimantic created the
Willimantic Area Fire Chiefs' Association,
which incorporated in 1958.
The Association was formed
to coordinate and train area firefighters,
as well as establish mutual aid agreements.
Willimantic Aldermen directed the hiring
of the first civilian dispatchers in 1977.
Three civilians were hired,
one of which still works for the center.
The Willimantic Fire Department
operated the dispatch center until about 1980,
when the City asked the
Association to assume management of operations.