Behind-the-Scenes at Miami Beach 911 Dispatch Center

NBC 6 headed inside the Miami Beach 911 Dispatch Center on Wednesday, the first step when you call for help during an emergency. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015)

NBC 6 headed inside the Miami Beach 911 Dispatch Center on Wednesday, the first step when you call for help during an emergency.

The center is always staffed, and the employees always have to be on top of their game.

"We're on the front-line and inside the central nervous system for the Miami Beach Police Department," one dispatcher said.

Dispatch gave NBC 6 a demonstration phone call, to give us an idea of what it takes to handle an emergency.

In the demo, a woman called about a home invasion. While one dispatcher took vital information, others simultaneously send police and help.

NBC 6 is the only station participating in the Miami Beach Citizen Police Academy. It's a 12-week course that shows residents the ins and outs of the department.

On average, this dispatch center fields up to 400,000 calls a year. Most of those are for police, about 50,000 for fire rescue.

"During special events, like Memorial Day weekend, then I'm sure you're aware we can answer upwards of 30,000 calls in a 24-hour period," a dispatch employee explained.

The types of calls vary from fender-benders to shootings. There are also those calls dispatchers are trained to weed out.

"You've got to have common sense and there's nothing common about commonsense," an employee said.