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911 telecommunicator training takes center stage in many states

by Urgent Communications contributor
May 11, 2017

The effort to enhance 911 telecommunicator training to ensure a more consistent standard of care is gaining momentum.

Idaho’s Haight believes that training and certification is something that telecommunicators want, because it will enhance their professionalism and will improve how their profession is perceived.

Another law that worked its way through the state capitol would have classified telecommunicators as “emergency communications officers” and would have placed them in the same retirement benefits class as police officers and firefighters, but it was rejected by the Idaho House Judiciary & Rules Committee.

According to Haight, there was a good bit of opposition to the bill, which centered on the fact that police officers and firefighters throughout the state are required to meet the same training standards for their respective professions, while telecommunicators have not. There also was sentiment that the telecommunicator’s job is not “dangerous.” The training-standards law enacted in Idaho would take care of a portion of that dilemma.

“Just another reason why they are in favor of it,” Haight said.

Enhancing the professionalism of PSAPs and the telecommunicator role is a national issue. For far too long, 911 call-takers and dispatchers have been perceived as being on the periphery of public safety, when—in reality—they are the hub of the first-response wheel. Worse, they often are perceived as clerical workers, when in fact they are life savers. The work being done around the country to implement training standards for telecommunicators is a huge leap toward changing these perceptions.

Nancy Pollock is a senior consultant for Mission Critical Partners, Inc., a public safety communications consulting firm headquartered in Port Matilda, Pa. Prior to becoming an MCP team member, she managed a county communications department and retired as executive director of the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board in Minnesota. Her e-mail address is nancypollock@missioncriticalpartners.com.

Glenn Bischoff is technical writer/editor for Mission Critical Partners. Prior to joining the firm three years ago, he spent a decade covering the 9-1-1 sector for IWCE’s Urgent Communications. His e-mail address is glennbischoff@missioncriticalpartners.com.

 

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