~~National Telecommunicators Week ~~
Today I may ….
Make a life and death decision
Prevent a suicide
Help find a lost or runaway child
Help catch a suspect
Help to get a seriously injured person extricated
Stop a crime before it happens
Help someone to continue life by providing CPR/Heimlich instructions
Help recover stolen property
Give directions to get to a raging house fire, a serious medical emergency, someone in danger
Today I will…
Give valuable information to someone
Help keep officers, fire and ambulance personnel safe
Calm someone else
Make a difference
Each year the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (California) Sheriff’s Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980’s. By the early 1990’s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Representatice Edward J Markey introduced what became H.J. resolution 284 to create “National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week”. According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent without the need for yearly introduction.
Across the nation in times of intense personal crisis and community-wide disasters, the first access point for those seeking all classes of emergency services and homeland security information is 9-1-1. This week honors the thousands of men and women, the “first-first responders”, who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the citizens of the United States.
The calm voice on the other side of the phone is what few people remember when they are in a crisis. The fact is help is already being provided as they speak with a 911 operator. Sometimes it is in the form of protecting the caller from further harm, or providing them with life-saving information.
Sooner or later in life, most of us find a reason to call 9-1-1. When we do, we’re fortunate to have someone trained and qualified to help us on the other end of the line.
The term “9-1-1” is often associated with rapid emergency response, poise under pressure, aid and compassion in times of distress and critical decision-making within seconds. Many people don’t stop to think about the seemingly nameless, faceless individuals who answers 9-1-1’s call until they experience actual emergencies themselves. These telecommunicators make the difference between life and death in many instances. They may not be the ones driving the ambulances or putting out fires, but dispatchers play an important role in responding to emergencies. It’s kind of a silent service. The police, fire or EMT’s are the ones who show up but dispatchers are the ones that get them there.
Marion County dispatchers are certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD’s), trained to talk callers through medical emergencies until police and paramedics arrive.