Department of Emergency Services – About Us

The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Services was officially formed in September of 2005 from the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency and the Jefferson County 9-1-1 Center.  Emergency Management actually started back in the early days of World War II as the Civil Defense.  In the early 70’s, Civil Defense was re-organized and designated as Emergency Management.  The threat that formed Civil Defense was still there, however more emphasis had to be placed on natural disasters that plagued our area.

 In 1973, “County Control” was organized as a place to report  an emergency within Jefferson County.  When County Control was first established it provided services to only four agencies, all located in the Brookville Area.  Most emergency response agencies still operated utilizing the operator to report an emergency, along with many homes and businesses having what were commonly known as the “fire phone” that rang at several locations where volunteers would notify the responders that help was needed.  The County provided this service for the Brookville and Pine Creek Township Fire Departments, Brookville Ambulance Service and the Brookville Police Department.  County Control at that time was part of the responsibilities of the Sheriff of Jefferson County, who also operated the County Prison in the basement of the courthouse.

Over the years, more agencies moved their dispatching operations over to the control center.

The Emergency Management Agency located in the Jefferson County Service Center shared the department head with Veterans Affairs.  Both at that time was considered a “part-time” job.

With changes being made by the state government in regards to emergency response, a new facility was planned in the early 90’s that would move “County Control” from the Courthouse, and the Emergency Management Agency from the service center into one building known today as the Emergency Services Building.

In 1995, the Emergency Services Building opened just below the county jail.  The first floor occupied the offices of the Emergency Management Agency.  County Control occupied the second flood.  With the addition of 9-1-1, County Control was re-named as Jefferson County 9-1-1.   Until 2005, EMA and 9-1-1 were directed by two separate department heads.   Wanting to make the two departments more efficient and able to give the best service possible to the residents of the county, the County Commissioners combined the two agencies into one forming the Department of Emergency Services.

Today, the department acts as the Public Safety Answering Point for all 9-1-1 calls in Jefferson County.  The department dispatches calls for 20 fire departments, six ambulance services, and five police departments.  In addition, the department answers after hour calls for several county offices and answers all 9-1-1 calls for the Pennsylvania State Police stations in Punxsutawney and DuBois and the Punxsutawney Borough Police Dispatch.

Jefferson County is part of the six counties that make up the regional counter terrorism task force group known as the Northwest Central Pennsylvania Emergency Response Group.  Cameron, Clearfield, Clarion, Elk, McKean and Jefferson County’s form this group, with the Directors of each county serving as the Executive Governing Board of Directors.

The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Services works closely with it’s municipalities in times of disaster and pre-planning ahead of the storms.  A close bond between its neighboring counties, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Department of Homeland Security is why Jefferson County provides the best service it can to its residents and is a leader in the world of Emergency Management.