With only a week or so left before the start of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week (April 14th-April 20th) I am sure that many communications centers around the country are gearing up to honor and thank the front line personnel who answer the call for help each time someone dials 9-1-1. Whether you simply say thank you, or throw a large luncheon, offer door prizes, or write a formal declaration to be read at board meetings or city hall, there is one thing that you can do within your own jurisdiction that could make a difference to the communications center year round.
Showcase your Telecommunicators!
It’s not showing off for leaders to make an effort to educate the field personnel, ancillary departments, and the public on what actually happens in the 9-1-1 call center as calls come in and units are dispatched. A great way to start showcasing your communications center is to, quite simply, educate those people on what you do. Newsletters, whether professionally done or created in a word processor and printed out, can help get the word out about what it is really like to sit under the headset. So, here are a few more ideas to get the information out to the people who may not know, or truly understand what it is you do.
1. Newsletter: As stated above, a newsletter can be created to showcase what goes on in the communications center. This doesn’t have to be a one time deal, monthly, or bi-annual newsletters are a good way to keep information flowing and update all personnel on changes within your agency.
2. Intranet: With a basic publishing software such as Microsoft Publisher or Kompozer, you can create a sleek intranet that can be maintained behind your agency’s firewall, but still accessible to field personnel. Include job descriptions, typical shift configurations, and a description of TAC assignments and additional responsibilities that others may not now about. Introduce your personnel to the field teams in this way with a brief biography of their experience and time of service within the department.
3. Tours: Offer tours of the communications center for any personnel who want to get to know your crews better. Putting a face to the voice on the radio may help improve relations and create friendships that could last a lifetime.
4. Push the Press: Don’t just offer a press release about National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, invite the newspaper or television station in to do a story on the center and highlight the importance of the 9-1-1 personnel in the process of saving lives and property.
Probably the most important thing to remember is that Telecommunicators do their job year round, just like police officers and fire fighters. This is the one week that every telecommunicator really does want to hear the work thank you, especially from their leaders.
And, we do care about our brothers and sisters who are out in the field fighting fires and putting their lives on the line, we appreciate their service to the community and are grateful they are willing to do the job. We just want to feel like a part of the team, not a support function.
Hope everyone has a wonderful NPSTW 2013.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog and any opinions, observations, or ideas are mine and not associated in any way with my employer, The Reedy Creek Improvement District.