Happy National Telecommunicators Week to all! My hat is off to each and every one of our Country’s emergency call takers. Thank You! Thank you for what you do!!
FIRST of the first responders. Unsung hero. Unseen voice. Calm in the chaos. All terms to describe our many professional public safety telecommunicators across America who staff over 6,000 of our 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the United States.
Individuals who sit under the headset of our call centers ready to act when that phone rings from the citizen who may only reach out to us once in their lifetime; when an officer safety issue presents itself; when the hurricane or tornado wipes out parts of, or an entire community; or when that senior citizen calls for assistance for a “non-emergency”, or just needs to know what day of the week it is. YOU are the calm and comforting voice; they may never see or get to meet.
Each of you comes from a different walk of life, background, education and community involvement; big families to small families; and all with your own challenges. When you walk into that PSAP and approach the console and place that headset on; you leave all those “outside” challenges “at the door” and stand ready to be the calm and comfort for the citizen, the guiding voice for the police officer, firefighter or paramedic in critical times.
I look back on my tenure as a 9-1-1 Director and recall the team of dedicated professionals that I had the privilege to call co-workers and friends – they were a “family”. They were newlyweds, moms and dads, brothers or sisters, even grandparents from all walks of life. Several were volunteer firefighters in their own community; a few were EMT/Paramedics as well. Two were officials or referees for organized youth sports programs within their community.
The common theme that emerges in our profession is a common bond with our community – communities that we serve, communities we support, and those that we participate in because you care!
You care because you work swing shifts, night shifts, holidays and forego many family activities to be there with your colleagues 24/7/365. Your family expands to include your co-workers, partners and fellow public safety professions within your agency and across this great profession. You attend training and provide education to your communities about 9-1-1 and what we do.
Many of you go beyond your agency and provide precious and valuable volunteer time to our industry’s professional associations: NENA, APCO, NASNA and others. When I have asked why, the answer most resoundingly is “to pay back a great profession and industry”.
I can say without hesitation that the Intrado family appreciates what all of you do, day in and day out to provide such a vital service to your community. In many cases, I realize that you don’t very often get the true recognition so richly deserved.
Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts about a group of true professionals. And a personal thank you to each of you for what you do, and to your families for sharing YOU with your community and the 9-1-1 profession.
Be safe! Keep others safe! And be well. Thank you!