The second full week of April is set aside as a time to express our thanks and appreciation for public safety telecommunicators around the country. For those of us called to public service, being acknowledged for “just doing” our jobs often makes us uncomfortable. It is not until you have been on the other end of the telephone or radio during your darkest hour, that you realize how much the telecommunicator’s calm and empathetic professionalism can relieve immense levels of stress and panic.
Yes, being calm and professional is just part of the job; however, we sometimes take for granted how rare it is to have the ability to focus on a number of diverse tasks while simultaneously asking questions and reassuring a distraught caller, or delivering pre-arrival instructions to a child whose parent has collapsed. Likewise, as public safety communications officials, it is easy to forget and underappreciate the skill and fortitude it takes to maintain one’s composure while directing units to traumatic and tragic events, which often involve our own families, friends and communities.
The individuals behind the consoles represent the best of us. During the past two years, our country, and indeed the world, has experienced extraordinary challenges from mass casualty events and natural disasters, to increased staffing shortages, which have created a crisis for many of our emergency communications centers. In times like these it is even more important to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the lifesaving work of the heroes under the headset. NPSTW reminds us to appreciate our friend and colleagues.
So, on behalf of the Executive Committee and the entire Board of Directors, I say thank you! Thank you to every telecommunicator. You have accepted the challenge to serve your communities with diligence, dedication and courageous resilience. Your work and contribution to our communities does not go unnoticed!
President, APCO International