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Results - Topic: Dispatch Center Dynamics & Leadership

091101

The date was supposed to be our celebration, our moment to recognize to the efforts of 9-1-1 and emergency dispatchers across our nation. Instead, it became a day of incomprehensible horror. Most of us, if we weren't in the epicenter of the events, watched our TV screens with growing incredulity as those awful images engraved themselves with bloody clarity permanently upon our collective psyche.

091201+

For many, those events, especially those in Manhattan, seemed insurmountable, incredulous, impossible to respond to with any means other than chaos. But there was order in the midst of calamity, an appropriate response was mounted and managed, and diverse responders from many disciplines came together to aid each other. In this issue we focus on the days that followed, examining the aftermath and recovery that followed the dreadful hours of that unforgettable day.

7 Traits Of A Chaotic Workplace - And 7 Great Resources For Overcoming Them

9-1-1 Communications Center teams work like well-oiled precision tools when a critical call comes in or the phones and radios are swamped on a full moon Friday night. But we often hear that teamwork comes to an abrupt halt when it comes to getting along or to be a team off the phones and radio. Here are 7 Deadly Habits and 7 Useful Tips for more teamwork off the phones and radios and 7+ recommended eBooks for your professional library, independent learning, or In Service Training.

9-1-1 dispatcher handles call on son's drowning

Surely an emergency dispatcher's worst nightmare is handling a call involving their own family. Illinois 9-1-1 Dispatcher Tracy Wilson experienced just this on June 17th when she took a call for a water rescue at the Rock Cut State Park after a canoe tipped over. After handling the call and getting rescuers on the way, Wilson received a cellphone call informing her that the victim was her son, 17-year old Mitchel Krause. He had been in the canoe when it tipped over on Pierce Lake and was...

9-1-1 Dispatchers Can Save More Lives by Coaching Bystanders in CPR

More people will survive sudden cardiac arrest when 9-1-1 dispatchers help bystanders assess victims and begin CPR immediately, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

9-1-1 For Sale: The Politics of the Public/Private Partnership

Overall, we've learned to deal, or at least make do with the technology, and the private firms seemed to at least offer some benefit to a unique niche in our population that we were under serving. Recently, however, there seems to be a new trend toward selling services with a broader appeal. But as appealing as they may seem to the public to whom they are marketed, some are raising questions within the 9-1-1 community...

9-1-1 Groundhog Day?

In the movie Groundhog Day, the main character wakes up every morning in the exact same place, at the exact same time, always having to repeat the same day - Groundhog Day. No matter what he experiences, he still wakes up having to repeat the day. Although he tries strategies to escape, nothing works; he still wakes up the next day to the same mess. I hear from many 9-1-1 leaders that their work to bring about 'positive lasting change' feels like Groundhog Day. So how can leaders...

9-1-1 Leadership Values

How important is a leader? What is the leader's role with negativity? What are the tools you can use to overcome this problem should it affect your Comm Center? What are the group dynamics of people who have no (or poor) leadership?

AMR dispatcher receives national recognition

Ron Jacobs is among 80 ambulance personnel from 28 states, and the only Mississippian, to receive the Star of Life award this year. The award is presented by the American Ambulance Association and is one of the highest honors for frontline ambulance professionals, said Jim Pollard, a member of AMR's Stars of Life coordinating team.

Anaheim Dispatcher Hangs up Headset After 41 Years of Service

Lori Murphy has been a police dispatcher almost as long as the 9-1-1 Emergency System has existed. After 41 years of service, she is hanging up her headset for retirement to enjoy the good life. On December 19th, 2012, she answered her last 9-1-1 call during her final graveyard shift before signing off for the last time.

Anger Management in the PSAP

Anger affects our bodies, our minds and our behavior. In can be like a toxin that can either help us or hurt us. Think of it like chemotherapy. If you have something bad happening to you and you have to deal with it, sometimes you need a stronger does of "something" to fight it. In the case of anger, you are reacting to something that has gotten out of control, or your old methods of dealing are no longer working so anger came to the rescue...

APCO International Selects 2011 Horizon Award Winners

The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International has awarded both Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center (VECC) and City of San Luis Obispo Communications Center with the prestigious Horizon Award for their proactive technologic achievements within the communications center and the public safety industry. APCO's Horizon Award recognizes the technological advancements of communications centers across the nation with the enhancement of voice and data...

April Highlights 9-1-1 Education & Public Safety Telecommunictor Service

April has rolled around once again, and that's the time we all think about National Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week and 9-1-1 Education Month. If you haven't seen them, I'd like to show you some great links that can help you get the positive story about 9-1-1 out to the public.

Aurora, Colorado, 9-1-1 Center Honored as Outstanding Call Center

The E9-1-1 Institute, in conjunction with National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA), the 9-1-1 Industry Alliance ("9IA"), National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), 9-1-1 For Kids, and the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus, will present the City of Aurora Public Safety Communications Department of Aurora, Colorado with the Outstanding 9-1-1 Call Center...

Call for Nominations - 2nd Annual Smart Telecommunicator Award

Smart911 is proud to recognize the professionals behind the 9-1-1 calls. 9-1-1 telecommunicators work tirelessly day in and day out to ensure that each emergency is responded to effectively and every caller receives the assistance they need. Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized?

Cayman Islands postage stamps honor Emergency Services & 9-1-1 Dispatchers

The Cayman Islands Postal Service is honoring Emergency Services personnel with five commemorative stamps, including one that depicts 9-1-1 dispatchers. "To my knowledge, this is the first time that our profession has ever been honored by a postage stamp in the world," wrote Brent Finster, Cayman Islands' 9-1-1 Director.

Celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators' Week on Facebook

A Facebook page was created in 2010 in honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week, dedicated "to all of the men and women staffing our Nation's PSAPs." Facebook users can "like" the NPSTW page and keep up to date about press conferences, public announcements, banquets, and PSAP parties that 9-1-1 agencies across the country...

Denise Amber Lee Foundation Inspires Unanimous Vote at New Hampshire 9-1-1 Conference

April's annual state conference of the New Hampshire Emergency Dispatchers Association (NHEDA), voted unanimously to adopt a uniform standard of training for all state 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers. The vote was taken after Denise Amber Lee Foundation President, Nathan Lee, spoke about the tragic story of his wife’s abduction and eventual murder due to mistakes made in his local 9-1-1 center the evening of January 17th, 2008.

Dispatcher Receives Call About Her Own House on Fire

Dispatcher Cherry Drake who has worked for Haywood County (TN) Emergency Dispatch for four years. While she is used to taking emergency calls from residents who are in desperate situations, it was a shock to get a call from her 17-year-old son reporting that their own house was on fire.

Dispatchers In The Clouds: Cloud Computing and the Modern PSAP

The future model of law enforcement communications centers is on the verge of a paradigm shift, one which will vastly change the way dispatching services are provided. In the near future, your communications center will likely integrate cloud-based technology. To take advantage of the cloud for emergency communications, though, we must first understand the long-term benefits of cloud-based communications centers, have clarity regarding options for deployment, and work to obtain the tools...

Dispatching in Slippers: The Future of Public Safety Communication Centers?

The "Anytown" Police Department took a page from the private sector and had taken advantage of having employees working from home. They realized that the role of the Public Safety Dispatcher has evolved from being just a job for a clerk to answer the phone and radio. Their roles are now that of highly skilled professionals who fill a unique niche that few can replace... But Pat and his fellow Anytown dispatchers had phones routed to their homes, along with all of the computer equipment...

Editor's Desk: Resolution

There's another meaning for the word "resolution," and that is "image resolution," a measurement of photographic clarity, which describes the detail an image holds... This kind of resolution - clarity - can be valuable in the workplace (especially in public safety, where lives depend on the keenness of our perspective)...

Emergency Communicators: Stay One Step Ahead in Preparedness

One of the most important things for emergency telecommunicators to do is to truly understand their jurisdiction and what critical infrastructure, symbolic targets, and other unique features exist and how the loss or disruption of those facilities or events will impact emergency responders and the community. Understanding community threats prior to an emergency is critical to not just the success of the response, but also the life safety of the occupants and emergency responders.

Evaluations: Giving and Getting - A Waste of Time?

Without good evaluation systems your agency has no idea what is happening compared to what is supposed to happen with individuals, shifts and the entire agency. Good evaluation processes and forms provide responsible supervision and direction. Evaluations provide documentation of the agency's accountability to manage the center responsibly.

Former Texas 9-1-1 Emergency Network Deputy Director Joins L.R. Kimball Team

L.R. Kimball, one of the nation's leading providers of architecture, engineering and communications technology services, is pleased to announce that Sharon Counterman, former Deputy Director of the Greater Harris County (GHC) 9-1-1 Emergency Network, has joined its team as Delivery Manager, Texas. Ms. Counterman assumed her new responsibilities on March 28, 2011 and will be based out of L.R. Kimball's Southlake, Texas office.

From the Chair: "Living La Vida Macro"

Airplanes have black boxes. Sports, the instant replay. And dispatchers have the call logger. Each of these is invaluable when analyzing an incident. However, they don't tell the whole story. This is especially true of loggers in the dispatch center. This installment of "From the Chair" discusses the pitfalls of using a single-channel recording when investigating the handling of a call.

From The Chair: "Scanner Land!"

You just sat down to begin your shift. The cluster of screens before you glow brightly, and the radio test revealed no problems. Before long, you will handle the fire on Broadway, the domestic violence on State Street, and the fender bender at the mall. And of course you will wonder if the hundreds, if not thousands, of people looking over your shoulder will approve of the way you're doing your job. The latest installment of "From the Chair" takes an irreverent look at the love-hate...

From The Chair: 2B or Not 2B - That Is a Question?

When the great bard Shakespeare had Lord Polonius remark, "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't," little did he know that he was describing the world of the modern PSAP. Now nearly 420 years later, From the Chair takes a whimsical and somewhat satirical look at the "madness" of how the public does and will communicate with the 9-1-1 center.

From the Chair: 9-1-1 Standards - Leveling the Playing Field

The ultimate evolution of the 9-1-1 system is the elimination of jurisdiction based PSAPs. In their place would be a virtual nationwide network of PSAPs. It would no longer matter which 9-1-1 center receives a call, or by what method. Every PSAP regardless of its physical location would have the ability to dispatch local resources anywhere in the country. Such a system will require significant advances in present technology. Under the umbrella of the NG9-1-1 initiative, there are...

From The Chair: A Column for the Dispatcher

I've never met an "average dispatcher" in my life. Just as every human being is unique, so is every emergency telecommunicator. True, we may all talk in a similar fashion and act alike in given circumstances. When the rubber meets the road, we all handle emergency calls in pretty much the same manner. Where we differ is in how we individually perceive the world in general and how we deal with the stress that is part and parcel of the job.

From The Chair: Accepting the Inevitable: Schedules, Expectations & Things

"Accepting the Inevitable" addresses the reality of how shift work and the 24/7 world of the dispatch center effects the emotional, physical, and performance of the telecommunicator. It peels away the glossy surface of dispatching to expose the dirty details that every 9-1-1 professional has to confront from their first day on the job until the day they retire.

From the Chair: April Foolishness

It's amazing how time flies! April 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of "From the Chair" - a featured column in 9-1-1Magazine written for the frontline 9-1-1 telecommunicator. Its author - Paul Bagley - took us on a wild ride through the ever-changing landscape of public safety emergency communications. His breezy style was frequently irreverent, often whimsical, and sometimes touching. To conclude its first year, and to usher in the next, the latest installment takes a fun look at the...

From the Chair: Chain-of-Command - It's All A Pyramid Scheme

Many people claim that emergency services - dispatch included - are "paramilitary" organizations. I'm not completely certain that term applies since the prefix "para" is a shortened form of the word parachute in the military, and anyone whose job title begins with that prefix literally jumps voluntarily out of airplanes.

From the Chair: Chaos and Staffing

The character David Brent, from the BBC series "The Office," is known for his saying, "If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven't understood the seriousness of the situation." When referring to a PSAP we can rewrite that to say, "If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you are probably a telecommunicator." In this installment of From the Chair, Paul uses the paraphrase of Brent's humor to write about how the outbreak...

From the Chair: Dispatching Disease

Any high-stress sedentary job has the tendency to put on the pounds if the individual engaged in it isn't careful. Because of the many strenuous demands, dispatching can erode the physical well-being of a person quicker than hard liquor and illicit drugs combined. We all know that and, to a degree, we accept it. The question is, what do we do about it?

From the Chair: Dispatching is Simple - It's Just Not Easy!

Sometimes it helps to think of dispatching as though you're playing a board game. In a game you need to know how each piece moves in order to be any good at it.

From the Chair: Gripes, the Dichotomy of Dispatch, and the Sacred File

In the latest installment of "From the Chair," Paul takes a detour to discuss - perhaps rant might be a better word - his personal experiences in the dispatch center that were a constant source of aggravation. And the culprits? His own colleagues. The article is written humorously, but makes some important observations about the nature of the people who occupy the chair. You will certainly recognize the characters he describes, as they may be sitting right next to you; perhaps even the...

From the Chair: Is 9-1-1 Really a System?

Do you know what 9-1-1 is? Do you know how it works? Do you know what it's for? In this article, Paul raises and discusses several thought-provoking questions about the 9-1-1 system's past, present, and future.

From the Chair: Our Hang Ups

In this installment, "Our Hang Ups," Paul discusses the nemesis of all dispatchers - the hang up and dropped call. He reminiscences a bit about the good old days when dispatching was little more than answering the phone and sending someone out. He then turns his attention to the brave new world where the onrush of new technologies is profoundly altering the operation of the PSAP, and creating ever-increasing challenges for the modern telecommunicator. To paraphrase the late American hero...

From the Chair: Preparing for the Unthinkable

In the latest installment of From the Chair, Paul pays tribute to the dispatchers working in the Newtown (CT) Emergency Communications Center on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He goes on to discuss how they were able to control the chaos of the active shooter incident, and still maintain the order and normal function of their center. He concludes with a warning that what the Newtown dispatchers did would have been impossible without careful preparation and planning...

From the Chair: Requiem for a Dispatcher

When you think of hazardous jobs what comes to mind: firefighters, high-rise steel workers, bomb disposal technicians, 9-1-1 dispatchers? Dispatchers? What is the hazard of sitting in a secure room behind a cluster of computer monitors, answering phone calls, and talking on a radio? Plenty! In this edition of "From the Chair," Paul Bagley presents a real-life cautionary tale to remind us just how dangerous dispatching can be. The take-away lesson may just save your life.

From The Chair: Semantics Makes All the Difference

Often it seems as though how we say something conveys more information than what we actually say; and, of course, vice versa. Nowhere is this truer than in the profession of emergency telecommunications. In addition to everything else that dispatchers must do in their daily routine, today they must be diplomats, and true diplomacy requires a new paradigm regarding language skills.

From the Chair: The Holidays Approach - Big Whoop!

In the latest installment of From the Chair, Paul turns his attention to the holiday season. With an irreverent wink, some humor, and a dash of sarcasm, Paul looks at the relationship between holidays and the 9-1-1 telecommunicator. The article concludes with a poignant message to those who find themselves in the chair on those special days.

Georgia 9-1-1 Dispatcher Named National Winner of 3rd Annual "Smart Telecommunicator" Award

April is National 9-1-1 Education Month and the second full week is also traditionally celebrated as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. With this in mind, the third Annual Smart Telecommunicator Awards kicked-off last month, conducted by Rave Mobile Safety, creators of the acclaimed public safety network, Smart911. Across the U.S., 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers (telecommunicators) were nominated by peers and individuals for leadership, performance, compassion for callers,...

Grime Prevention: Do Your Comm Center Consoles Need Cleaning?

Walk into any emergency dispatch facility today, no matter where, and look just beneath the surface. There you will find a disgusting mess worthy of a cable television reality show. Greasy grime. Dust bunnies running rampant. Coffee stains. Food particles deep inside cavities seemingly lost forever. Computers and radio equipment covered in filth.

Hennepin EMS Dispatcher Tom Polzin To Receive 9-1-1 Hero Award

Hennepin EMS Dispatcher Tom Polzin and Minneapolis 9-1-1 Operator Lori Patrick will be joining 9-year-old Rodrigo Sanchez Sosa of Minneapolis in receiving the “Local 9-1-1 Heroes Award” from the National 9-1-1 for Kids Program; in conjunction with the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Convention on August 20.

Hey Everybody - It's Our Week!

Believe it or not, it's that time again; National Public Safety Telecommunicators' Week. Created by an act of Congress during the Clinton administration, it sets aside the second full week of April every year as a time to honor and acknowledge our brothers and sisters who work tirelessly during all fifty-two weeks of every year. As best as I can determine, the good folks in Contra Costa, California (or specifically one good folk at the Sheriff's Office named Patricia Anderson) came up with...

Ick! I Hate Evaluations

How annoying can the evaluation process be? Think back to years of getting and giving evaluations. Are your memories fuzzy recollections of frustration, confusion, apathy, joy or resentment? Or do you recall them as an effective method of valued communications between you and an expert on how well you are keeping the promise of your work and adding to the overall agency goals of excellence?

Is There a Place for Social Media in Public Safety?

The Internet is public. Even when comments or posts are sent directly to a specific distribution group or only shared with “friends” there is nothing stopping these individuals from forwarding, re-posting, or sharing with others. There is nothing more embarrassing than complaining about a co-worker (or your boss) only to have them eventually receive and read your comments.

KPS Publishes Textbook Specifically Designed for Florida Telecommunicators

On the heels of the curriculum framework created by the Florida Department of Health, Orlando based KPS has published a textbook designed to meet Florida standards and objectives. Written specifically to meet the objectives of the State, this textbook contains almost 400 pages of text, color and black & white photographs, tables and charts.

Leadership and Conflict Resolution in the PSAP

Joy to the world, peace on earth etc etc. Yet what about the ongoing Criticizing, Condemning, Complaining? Natural human behavior - to a point. But when the 3 Cs become epidemic in your Comm Center it's time to take some leadership action.

Leading Public Safety Associations Announce Open Nominations for 9-1-1 Honor Awards

The E9-1-1 Institute, National Emergency Number Association (NENA), Association of Public-Safety Communications-Officials International (APCO), National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA), and 9-1-1 Industry Alliance (9IA) have announced the opening of nominations for the 2011 9-1-1 Honor Awards. The organizations, representing 25,000 emergency communications professionals nationwide, bestow the awards each year to honor heroes and leaders in 9-1-1. The 2011 awards ceremony...

Leading Public Safety Coalition Celebrates National 9-1-1 Education Month

"Today the National 9-1-1 Education Coalition announces a new resource for everyone across the nation," stated Gregory Rohde, Executive Director of the E9-1-1 Institute. "We encourage you to visit www.know 911.org for ideas on what you can do for National 9-1-1 Education Month."

Managing the Cone of Uncertainty

...I became aware of what the job description should be for everyone in public safety communications: "We manage the cone of uncertainty!" Because, folks, that's what we do. Every call taker and telecommunicator never knows what the next call will be. More than likely it will be something relatively minor. And then again, it can be the lead story on the six o,clock news or CNN. Either way, they must be ready.

National 9-1-1 Association's New President Promises Strong Leadership on Next Generation 9-1-1 Issues

A new NENA Executive Board took office during the Installation Banquet & Gala at the NENA 2012 Conference & Expo earlier this month in Long Beach, CA. Barbara A. Jaeger, ENP was sworn in as President, while Bernard Brown, ENP became 1st Vice President and Christy Williams, ENP assumed the office of 2nd Vice President.

National 9-1-1 Association's New President Promises Strong Leadership on Pressing 9-1-1 Issues

The newly elected leaders of NENA-The 9-1-1 Association (formerly the National Emergency Number Association) are pledging to keep up the organization's momentum and leadership in the coming year.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week April 14-20

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is recognized April 14-20 this year. Celebrate the special people who perform critical work every day at the nation's public safety emergency communications centers.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators' Week Turns Twenty-One!

Here we are in 2012, celebrating what is the official twenty-first birthday of National Public Safety Telecommunicators' Week. Although it was conceived in California a decade before and has been known by a number of aliases, about the closest thing we have to a birth certificate is a 1991 Congressional Proclamation - so we'll go with that. As can be imagined, after ten years of labor, this baby was welcomed with open arms by most.

Nationwide Moment of Radio Silence Proposed for 9/11/2011

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the attack on America, it occurred to me that some special remembrance was in order. I started the ball rolling on this in NC, but it's something that we can get going nationwide. At 0959 hours - the time most closely associated with the collapse of the first tower at the WTC - I am asking that all public safety agencies sound an alert tone and request a moment of silence in memory of the brave Americans who lost their lives that day.

NENA Webinar: Bullying in the 9-1-1 Workplace

Considerable attention has been paid in recent years to bullying in the workplace. These behaviors may start out as minor incivilities, but can escalate and spiral into chronic destructive behaviors that have profound effects on individuals and on organizational culture, leading to a toxic work environment that breeds hostility and underperformance. Join NENA for this one-hour webinar and thirty-minute Q&A session that will help you identify bullying behaviors; dissect their underlying...

New TV Show takes a close look at strangest non-emergency 9-1-1 calls

If you are an emergency Dispatcher, we know you've heard some crazy calls and we want to hear about them! WORLD'S MOST RIDICULOUS 911 CALLS is a new TV show that dissects one of a million crazy, non-emergency 9-1-1 every week and asks the question everyone wants the answer to: WHAT were these callers thinking?!

NICE Announces Winners of 2012 PSAPs' Finest Awards in Ceremony at Nat'l APCO Conference

NICE Systems announced the winners of its 2012 PSAPs' Finest Awards in a ceremony held at the NICE booth during the APCO International 78th Annual Conference & Expo. An annual awards program sponsored by NICE, the PSAPs' Finest Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who exemplify the best of 9-1-1 public safety communications

NICE Honors 2011 PSAPs' Finest Award Winners at National APCO Conference

NICE Systems honored the winners of its 2011 PSAPs' Finest Awards in a special presentation at the 77th Annual APCO Conference and Expo in Philadelphia, PA. Now in its sixth year, NICE's PSAPs' Finest Awards recognize individuals for their exceptional performance and contributions to public safety communications. Each year, winners are selected in four PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Telecommunicator of the Year.

NICE Opens Nominations for 2013 PSAPs' Finest Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2013 PSAP's Finest Awards, an annual program that recognizes exceptional people involved in public safety communications. Nominations are accepted in four PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Telecommunicator of the year. NICE introduced the awards program in 2006 and has recognized 31 individuals since then.

NICE Opens Nominations for 2014 PSAPs' Finest Awards

NICE Systems' nominations are now open for the 2014 PSAPs' Finest Awards, an annual recognition program for public safety communications professionals. Nominations are accepted in four PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Telecommunicator of the Year. Now in its ninth year, the PSAPs' Finest awards program has recognized 36 individuals since its inception.

NIU Study Seeks Survey Feedback on Voice Disorders Among 9-1-1 Staff

The Northern Illinois University is studying the incidence of voice problems in those who work as 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators. To facilitate their study, van Mersbergen has created an online in order to determine the prevalence of voice disorders in the profession of 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators.

Nixing the Negativity in the PSAP

"Why does the dispatcher need help getting through this officer down incident, he wasn't even on the scene?" These were the words a high ranking official asked me, the 9-1-1 Director in charge of a center where an officer was shot, when my dispatcher was having extreme anxiety over the incident. I wish I knew then what I know now...

Nominations sought for "Smart Telecommunicator Award"

This year, National Telecommunicators Week is April 8 - 14, 2012. Smart911 is proud to recognize the professionals behind the 9-1-1 calls. 9-1-1 telecommunicators work tirelessly day in and day out to ensure that each emergency is responded to effectively and every caller receives the assistance they need.

Nor Cal Propane Railcar Incident Handled by Lone Dispatcher

The Northern California city of Lincoln (pop. 42,819, in Placer County) only has a budget to staff a single on-duty dispatcher at all times. It was up to that dispatcher - veteran telecommunicator Teri Leedy - to handle a major emergency last month when a leaking propane railcar caught fire. In addition to handling all of the incoming 9-1-1 calls, Leedy quickly notified the city’s police and fire departments, coordinated the response of surrounding agencies, and sent EMS units to treat a...

Notes from Navigator - 9-1-1 Lessons from Las Vegas

Maybe you look at Navigator as the place to learn a lot about emergency communication, the ability to pick up free advice from fellow professionals, and - at the conference held this past April in Las Vegas - the chance to walk away a millionaire. The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) sponsored Navigator is all that and more. The six days traditionally divided between workshops and classroom sessions also leaves attendees with a lot to chew on for discussion when the next...

NPSTC Opens Nominations for Annual Public Safety Awards

NPSTC relies on hard-working volunteers to accomplish our important work on behalf of public safety telecommunications. We want to recognize the hard work and commitment you provide while working full-time jobs. Please submit the names of those who should be recognized. You do not have to be a member of NPSTC to nominate someone or to be nominated.

NY town fires all 4 PD dispatchers without warning to save $300K

Fallsburg (NY) has fired its four civilian police dispatchers in a move that blindsided dispatchers and union representatives but which Supervisor Steve Vegliante said will save the town more than $300,000.

NYC 9-1-1: The Eye Of The Storm

I arrived at the center approximately five minutes after the first plane had struck and at that point there was little credible information regarding the size of the plane or damage estimates from the scene. No matter, our personnel had already sprung into action putting our major incident plan into effect. Administrative and training personnel not normally involved in call taking operations were already on the floor...

Our Week

With National Public Safety Telecommunications Week being celebrated each April, it's worth taking a look at the job we've been doing.

Overcoming Stress: A guide for 9-1-1 dispatchers

Some dispatchers have the amazing ability to go through day after day of hearing the cries for help from their fellow citizens without becoming overwhelmed or completely stressed to their limits. These dispatchers are not superhuman nor are they devoid of feelings. What sets them apart from their more stressed counterparts is the fact that they have been able to establish a positive balance between their work and their lives.

Pants on the Ground::The Joys of Managing an Adult Dress Code

Every season of American Idol comes with its own set of surprises, and this year is no exception. "General" Larry Platt of Atlanta added the catchphrase "pants on the ground" to the American lexicon with his homemade ditty to drooping drawers. While his somewhat tongue-in-cheek composition focused on a particular dress style of the young, communications center managers can experience similar displays every day. If you are lucky enough to supervise a uniformed facility, then the remainder of...

Password Please: The Place of Social Media in Hiring Decisions

Recently the Internet has been all a-twitter about numerous reports of employers requesting social media passwords from prospective and current employees... While on the surface this practice seems a shocking violation of personal space and freedoms, there are others who would argue that valuable information concerning hiring decisions can be gained in this manner... Let's take a closer look at the issue; especially as it applies to public safety communications.

PowerPhone White Paper: The Power of the Positive Approach: Discovering the Potential of Your Team

PowerPhone held a webinar earlier this year on The Power of the Positive Approach: Discovering the Potential of Your Team. The white paper summarizes the webinar and addresses questions raised from your industry peers

PSAP Leadership: Tough Times, Tough Lessons

The city of San Bernardino (CA) filed for bankruptcy in June of 2012, despite the best efforts of the California Public Employees Retirement System and the mid-management's bargaining unit the bankruptcy was given the green light by the federal judge on 8/26/2013. During the time the city was waiting for the bankruptcy to go through, the leaders within the police department were forced to learn many tough lessons...

PSAPs in Europe 2013 Overview Published by EENA

The European Emergency Number Association (EENA) has released the 'Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Europe' publication, edition 2013. In addition to the 28 EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Turkey, this year's 145-page document provides an overview of the PSAPs structure in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro.

PSAPs' Finest Awards - Just 3 Weeks Left To Nominate

NICE invites you to nominate that individual for a PSAPs' Finest Award. Now in its seventh year, NICE's PSAPs' Finest Awards recognize individuals for their outstanding performance and contributions to the field of public safety communications. Nominations are accepted in four categories: Telecommunicator, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Communications Center Director.

PSAPs' Finest Awards Nominations Close June 1st

Don't miss out on an opportunity to nominate someone for a PSAPs' Finest Award. Nominations close on June 1st and can be submitted online... In its sixth year, PSAPs' Finest is an annual Public Safety awards program that recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to public safety communications. Awards are presented for Telecommunicator, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Communications Center Director of the Year.

PSAPs: Introduction to Emotional Intelligence Workshop

911Lifeline, in partnership with Dr. Lora Reed, announces the first of a series of workshops on leadership and organizational behavior in the PSAP.

Q&A: 9-1-1 Industry Alliance Faces 9-1-1 Overload Challenges & More

With 25 years of professional background in public safety and professional services, 9-1-1 Industry Alliance (9IA) executive director George S. Rice, Jr. is now helping to tackle a major issue impacting public safety, the 9-1-1 overload issue. 9-1-1 Magazine's Randall Larson spoke with Rice on why he is dedicated to public safety and how the alliance is working to ensure that no 9-1-1 call goes unanswered.

Redefining the Human Machine Interface

Simultaneous auditory stimuli (e.g., radio and telephone transmissions) is a common occurrence within in the 9-1-1 communication center. Competition for the telecommunicator's attention and comprehension with receipt of two simultaneous verbal transmissions may result in critical information being missed or lost when switching between tasks. To better manage competing auditory activity, the telecommunicator needs a process to receive, analyze, and organize this activity in such a way that...

She Fell - A Lesson from a Flock of Geese

Here in the Northwest we often are privileged to hear the familiar honking of Canadian geese as they fly low in their well-known "V" formation to some unknown destination. We know that flying in this formation allows the flock to fly further together than they could alone - thus they are often used to represent how much more efficient and effective we are when we cooperate. Teamwork in a 9-1-1 Center shares that kind of dynamic, and its absence can be as keenly felt...

Spouse of Paramedic Wins Scholarship Honoring Hero Behind Hero

Tara Rolan, of Angleton, Texas, sees her recent win of the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship presented by Columbia Southern University as a "life changer." The Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, which honors the spouses and children of active-duty public safety personnel (firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMTs and dispatchers) and military men and women, covers tuition for up to 24 months for one specific degree program with CSU.

Stress & The Invisible First Responders

Even though my mind had adapted to the day-to-day adrenaline rush of vicariously encountering traumatic situations, I couldn't escape the physiological and emotional consequences. As a psychology major in the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College, I was learning concepts that described what I was experiencing, and conversations with my coworkers revealed that I wasn't the only 9-1-1 dispatcher suffering the effects of being in a continual state of crisis.

Supervision: 15 Evaluation Pain Killers

Bet most of you never had an evaluation you liked. Well, that's not true, I'm sure if it praised you as you deserved you liked it. Let's say you never had an evaluation you could honestly say was deeply meaningful, greatly insightful, and guided you towards greater mastery in your work. Can an evaluation really do all that?

Terrorism Preparedness: PSAPs Get Ready for the Future

"We need to ask questions and get a good understanding of what the (situation) is," said Hollman. "Each caller is different, some may be aware of something unusual and some may be very hysterical. But the basics are still the where's and what's. That's what a dispatcher needs to find out."

The Blame Game

...in a profession that has historically been viewed as a gathering of redheaded stepchildren, taking potshots at the PSAP is nothing new. What is new, however, is the scope of these collective allegations and insinuations. While I'll paraphrase for the sake of brevity, the intent is clear: whatever it is, it's the dispatcher's fault. This thinking dovetails nicely with my favorite analogy: 9-1-1 is like a submarine. Nobody sees us or hears us until something blows up. Then they blame us for...

THE CALL: 9-1-1 Goes Hollywood - The Dispatcher as Action Hero

I just got back from seeing THE CALL, the first movie thriller to feature a 9-1-1 dispatcher as its central protagonist. While not without criticisms, I enjoyed the movie and felt gratified to be able to cheer the film for its positive image of the public safety telecommunicator in a heroic role of action. Xena, step aside

The Calls Will Go On: NPSTW & The Titanic Anniversary

Did you know that there is a link between the NPSTW and one of the greatest disasters of the twentieth century? This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. How can answering a 9-1-1 line or monitoring a radio channel be related to an event over one hundred years ago?

The Changing Communications Patterns of Citizens

PSAPs everywhere are witnessing a fundamental shift in the communications patterns of their citizens. With the growing number of wireless households it is essential that our public safety networks accommodate our mobile citizens. Rave Mobile Safety's Smart911 service has created this free infographic showcasing the ever-changing 9-1-1 communications patterns of citizens. The graphic can be downloaded as a PDF file for display or use by 9-1-1 administrators...

The Customer Service Challenge: Police vs. Nordstrom

"The Customer is Always Right" has long been a cliche' used in the customer service industry, prompting businesses in the private sector to provide the highest quality of professional service to meet customer satisfaction. So how can we apply this principle to law enforcement without turning police agencies into a Nordstrom's?

The Dark Mind Descends: The Aurora Movie Shootings

Within moments of the awful shooting spree in which 71 people were shot (12 fatally) as they watched the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in Aurora, Colorado, news had taken wing and spread across the Internet. A rushing wave of incredulity and sorrow swept across social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as those of us still up after midnight read with heartache and horror what transpired in the flickering darkness of Aurora's Century 16 Theater.

The Dispatcher's Role in Designing A New Dispatch Facility

Building Your Comm Center, Part 1: ...Dispatchers had an integral part in not only the design of their work environment, but also had the opportunity for input about other areas of the building. Overall interior color schemes, tile and carpet selection, outside roof color and building accent colors, types of lockers and the interior courtyard to name a few...

The Dragon that Lurks in Shadows

This is by far the weirdest editorial I wrote for 9-1-1 magazine. A longtime aficionado of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft (and an occasional writer of that type of weird fantasy fiction), I borrowed some ideas from one of his stories to make an oblique comment on negativity and cynicism in the 9-1-1 Center... I thought it would be interesting to revisit it here, as its perspective is still relevant and its narrative style even more regarded in literary circles.

The Ghosts of Christmases Past

There will always be a select number of calls whose memory will follow each and every one of us throughout our careers and become indelibly imprinted as part of the holiday season... Despite the severity of these events and others like them, the names of those involved have dimmed over the years. While the streets and neighborhoods involved are often associated with these recollections, the most common denominator is the deep seated sorrow that "something like this could happen near the...

The House is Falling: Suffering the Consequences of Neglect

There is not just ONE problem that is easy to solve in the 9-1-1 industry. There are many areas in need of repair, here are some thoughts: It is NO mystery that the pay is at times inadequate. Inadequate to attract good candidates, inadequate to keep good employees, inadequate to enable workers to feel valued or heard. They (whoever they are) claim pay isn't what matters, just like other human services jobs such as counseling, caring for the mentally ill. True maybe - the pay IN ITSELF...

The Online Manager: Challenges of the Digital Age

Having written the Communication Manager's column for 9-1-1 Magazine for the past 15 years, I now look forward to making the transition to the web from print. While I have already had a few columns posted here, these were actually leftovers that had been waiting publication. So, from this month forward I'll be able to take advantage of the immediacy of the web and post content that is truly fresh.

The Pachyderm in the PSAP

An unusually poetic commentary of the state-of-the-art of dispatcher staffing and retention. In the spirit of a holiday jingle, PSAP Management columnist Barry Furey examines the issues in rhyming meter and creative wordplay to address a one of the major issues challenging 9-1-1 Centers this year - and likely next.

The Winners Have Been Announced: 2012 Smart Telecommunicator Awards

In honor of National Telecommunicators Week, Smart911 along with our partner iCERT- the Industry Alliance, hosted the 2012 Smart Telecommunicator Awards to recognize 9-1-1 telecommunicators across the country for their leadership, performance and overall dedication to their public service answering point, or PSAP... We are proud to announce the National Winner as well as the 4 Regional Honorees.

Today is the 44th Anniversary of 9-1-1 in the USA

The first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system in the USA went into service on this date in 1968 - in Haleyville, Alabama.

via NY1: Bronx Street Renamed After Longtime FDNY Dispatcher

Wave of 9-1-1 calls generated by Maine earthquake overwhelms system

On October 16th, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake centered near Waterboro, Maine (where earthquakes of this size are a rarity), triggered a flood of calls to 9-1-1 - but not from people seeking emergency assistance. Most were simply looking for information about the quake... "That 172 calls represents a little over half of our calls that we would get in a day," ECC director Tom Cavanaugh told WCSH6. "So that is a significant spike."

What is complacency anyway?

In the 9-1-1-world complacency is a bad, bad word. Self-satisfied, on the other hand, is the actual dictionary definition and not a bad, bad thing - right? However, the dictionary goes further to say complacency is satisfaction to the degree that the complacent person becomes unaware of "potential dangers." The Call Taker may dull their sense of intuition. The Radio Dispatcher may be less inclined to do a status check. A Supervisor may procrastinate on a complaint. A Trainer may give...

What Kids Think About 9-1-1: A Fifth Grader's Perspective

We all know that 9-1-1 is something that all kids, like us, should know about. But are the kids really interested? How can we help them become interested? Do they know everything they really should? What do they want to know? What's the best way for them to learn? This interview, taken from a fifth-grader's point of view, should answer those questions.

What Use Our Work?

As April rolls around again, we spend time educating the public about 9-1-1 and honoring our brightest and best employees. But, it seems to me that one thing we rarely do is sit back and take a long hard look at what it is that we really do, because absent of the speeches, proclamations, and news clips lies this measure. And what we really do is pretty darn good.

 
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