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9-1-1 Education Month Recognizes Nation's Unsung Heroes
9-1-1 Professionals Seek to Raise Awareness of 9-1-1 Challenges
Nearly every community is home to 9-1-1 call takers who have calmly and professionally saved the day in dangerous situations, whether it involves walking parents through saving their baby's life or communicating with a man who can't speak by having him tap the phone "yes" or "no" to a series of questions.
NENA – The 9-1-1 Association – believes that April, also known as National 9-1-1 Education Month, marks the perfect time to say "thank you" to these local call takers for their selfless service. The month also presents an opportunity to get up to date on the challenges the 9-1-1 system faces.
Today's 9-1-1 professionals answer more than 600,000 emergency calls a day, often during the worst moments of a caller's life. Operators often work long shifts, handling dozens of calls, and often not knowing how or if the various emergencies were resolved. The stress level drives a need for expanded training, professional development, and wellness programs for call takers in nearly every community.
Moreover, the current system -- which is almost entirely funded and managed at the state and local level – is also stretched to its limit due to heavy call volume, emerging technologies such as smartphones and texting; and inadequate or inconsistent funding. Among the hot topics of the day are text-to-9-1-1 (under development in many areas but not yet available in most); multi-line telephone systems in hotels and large buildings; and automatic location capabilities.
This month, NENA invites citizens and organizations to partner with the Friends of 9-1-1 program to show support for local 9-1-1 call takers and help raise public awareness about proper use of the 9-1-1 system and the challenges faced by 9-1-1 professionals every day.
"The better educated citizens are about 9-1-1, the more likely everyone will be to receive rapid, effective emergency help in their hour of need," NENA President Bernard Brown said. "Always be ready to provide your location and callback number, and never hang up before instructed to do so."
For more information on how to become a Friend of 9-1-1, please visit www.friendsof911.org.
For more 9-1-1 tips, check out www.nena.org/911educationmonth.
- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via NENA, 4/1/14)