Reflections on National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (part 2)

National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (April 8 – 14, 2018) is the week set aside to recognize the extraordinary work and efforts of our nation's emergency call takers and dispatchers, the true first responders and unsung heroes of 9-1-1. This Year, in honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, I asked 9-1-1 professionals across North America to tell me why it's important to recognize 9-1-1 Telecommunicators and how their centers are marking the occasion this year. Here are some of their reflections:

Kim Lettrick, Acting Director, Southeast Communications Center (SECOMM), WA

"I believe that everyone wants to know that what they do is appreciated and has value.  This is especially important to telecommunicators, as we are often in the shadow of others in our first responder team. We are not always recognized for our response to incidents because we are not visible during the incident. Taking time to recognize our telecommunicators allows them to know that while they are in the shadows, we see them, and we appreciate what they do for our communities." 

"We celebrate our "Dispatcher of the Year" during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This is the main focus of our week-long celebration which features 'spirit week' where we have a different theme every day (from sports day to western day to crazy hair day). We will also have a barbeque /pot luck and each telecommunicator receives a small gift from our agency."

Anne Raskin, Data Collections/Operations Supervisor & Jennifer Wong, SF DEM Administrative Secretary, San Francisco DEM/DEC

"Telecommunicators are invisible.  Often forgotten after the rescue, transport or resolution, this is the one week of the year that telecommunicators are seen, honored, and valued as first, first responders.  Telecommunicators are highly trained at identifying what is needed and sending help at lightning speed. They deserve to be seen."

"Public safety telecommunicators are vital to our City's well-being and in light of that, we are celebrating telecommunicators the entire week. Food, fun and acknowledgements are just some of the events planned. We will be remembering and acknowledging telecommunicators who have fallen and opening our doors to retired telecommunicators and other public safety entities. Our telecommunicators' well-being is a top priority for the department, so we also have a day dedicated to emotional, physical, financial and mental well-being where we will bring credit unions, yoga demos and counselors on-site."

Leigh Robb, Training Coordinator, Winnipeg Police Service

"Our Communication Centre role is invaluable in serving the public, helping officers catch criminals and keeping members and citizens safe through calm and reassuring communications during times of crisis.  National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is an important week to recognize the dedication, skills and sacrifices that members make in providing that level of service."

"In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, our Mayor for the City of Winnipeg will be visiting our centre, and we will be attending to each shift working (six) throughout the week to provide cookies in the shape of headsets and coffee. The WPS will also be 'tweeting' about it all week." 

Want to learn more?

I hope you enjoyed these reflections on National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week from representatives of agencies across North America. Please visit the National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW) website to see how various agencies across the country are taking the opportunity to recognize their 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers.

Another great way to recognize your agency's 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers is to nominate them for a PSAPs' Finest Award. You can read more about the PSAPs' Finest Award Program on the NICE website.

Read previous reflections
Reflections on National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week (part 1)

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