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2016

Thank You for Sharing Your Stories From the Frontline

APCO’s request for telecommunicator’s stories to publish on this site yielded more than 50 entries and a wide variety of submissions – intense, amusing, heartbreaking … and all true. We express our gratitude to all those who participated, as well as those who read, commented and passed along the stories. …

Rep. Norma Torres Introduces NPSTW Resolution,
Speaks About Honoring Telecommunicators

  On April 13, 2016, United States Representative Norma Torres  (35th Dist. Calif.), herself a 9-1-1 dispatcher before entering politics, introduced a resolution on National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. “After 17-1/2 years as a 911 dispatcher, I know firsthand the challenges our public safety dispatchers face, the stress they are put under, and the …

How we celebrate NPSTW @ UKPD

This year we chose to honor our Telecommunicators by having a giant banner that says “We Appreciate You” and we had everyone in the department write a note expressing their thanks. There were also baked brownies and other goodies made by others in the department and from the Wives Behind …

Telecommunicators, NPSTW Are Big News

This month, more than 300 newspapers have written about NPSTW and the recognition due public safety telecommunicators for their demanding and generally unseen role in emergency response. Browse the still growing list to see the multitude of ways agencies and communities are honoring those working in their comm centers.

Dedication and Recognition Countywide.

Putnam County WV 911 Telecommunicators were recognized for their hard work and dedication. The County Commission and the City of Hurricane signed Proclamations acknowledging National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in Putnam County, WV.

Kern County NPSTW 2016

This year at our center, located in Bakersfield California, we are having a blast ! Each shift has participated in a dress up contest including support your sports and Patriotic day. At the end of the week the person with the best outfit will win a prize. We also purchased …

911 What Is Your Emergency?

Please click the link and watch Shreveport Fire Department Communications Division in action. Black Helmet Films, producer of the “Another 24” mini-series about the life of firefighters, has put together a new video to showcase dispatch in honor of National Telecommunicators’ Week.  Featuring the Shreveport, Louisiana Fire Dispatchers at Caddo …

Dispatch Appreciation Week 2016

This year we gave our staff years of service pins for 5 or more years of service. We put 4 bags with gift certificates attached to the bags, and each dispatcher put a ticket in whatever bag they choose. For every time they come shift and every 911 call they …

A Week of Appreciation and Food

Generally it is a week of appreciation and FOOD! Our Fire and EMS agencies along with our administrative staff provide a lunch or dinner for each shift every day of the week. Command Staff from all of the departments we work with either stop by or send messages expressing their …

City of Burlington Proclamation April 10 – 16 as PST Week

Fire Public Safety Telecommunications staff were invited to the April 11th City of Burlington Council Meeting where the Mayor read a proclamation to Council and attendees (also webcast) proclaiming Apr. 10 – 16 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in the City of Burlington. The Mayor’s Proclamation read as follows: The …

A Special Week

This has been a special week for staff – on Monday the Fire Marshal’s office dropped off 3 foot sandwiches for each shift (with chips and drink) – on Wednesday the Police Chief had an Edible Arraignment delivered for staff. Each staff member received a 911 Dedicated Hero sweatshirt and …

No Uniforms All Week

We are fortunate enough to work for a Department that is allowing us, ALL WEEK, with no uniform. Each day is a designated theme and today for us is sports day!  As you can see, we are enjoying it! Thank you to ALL of you out there that are Telecommunicators, …

Franklin County PA NPSTW

Attached you will find a picture of a few of the dispatch staff from Franklin County, PA Department of Emergency Services. On the left is Megan Ruby, dispatch liaison from our regional EMS governing body, the Emergency Health Services Federation of New Cumberland, PA. The EHSF was kind enough to …

Reason Enough to Feel Like A Hero

I began my career in law enforcement in 1986 at age 19 as a dispatcher.  I spent many years on the night shift and the evening shift and finally the day shift behind the radio taking and dispatching calls. It would be an amazing feeling to be able to share …

The Promise

I have been a dispatcher with the Birmingham Police Department for more than 17 years. I began my career on the 3-11 shift and what an exciting ride it was. I received a call about a man that had attempted to commit suicide in a very large cemetery, he stated …

My Memories of 9/11/01

As part of Arlington Public Library’s commemoration of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, we conducted a series of interviews with first responders and others to share their stories and memories of that time. Jennifer Meyers (Arlington County ECC Dispatcher) “I was a dispatcher for Arlington County’s Emergency Communications Center on …

Why I Love What I Do

I originally applied to be a Communications Officer because I wanted a foot in the door to the Public-Safety community. Little did I know, it would be a career I fell in love with. The first day on the job after the long process of actually getting hired, I wondered …

Why I Am a Dispatcher

I have always wanted to be involved in law enforcement ever since I was a young child. I started my career in dispatching July 25, 2005 when I was hired part time at Edinburgh Police Department. I knew from the moment I sat in the seat my first solo shift, …

Save the Ice Cream

At the time, I was working at White Settlement Pd. The electricity was out for part of the city due to a big storm passing through. An elderly lady called wanting to know when the electricity would be back on. After I consulted my crystal ball, I advised her I …

A Message from APCO’s President

Since I became your APCO president in August 2015, I have been talking about the importance of WE and I can’t think of a better time to reinforce that than during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW). You might work in a big city consolidated PSAP or a rural 9-1-1 …

A Life-Changing Call

(Recording of a 9-1-1 call in which a dispatcher guided a husband through CPR on his wife, who had collapsed.) I can’t tell you much I love my job and the amazing feeling I had that day when I found out that the patient had survived. It was truly a …

Game Ideas for NPSTW

In the past we had played a few fun games that everyone seemed to enjoy. We have had a jar of different kind of M&M’s with money hidden in a Ziploc bag inside. Whomever came closest to guessing the number of M&M’s (without going over) won the jar and the …

Remembering Why …

It seems that every day at work is the same old same old. I used to believe I was making a difference. Now lately it’s just been doing my job. It’s what I’m supposed to do … until yesterday.  I was once again reminded of why I chose the job …

Because We Have the Answers

It was April 27th in the year 2000. I applied for a job where my only personal knowledge consisted of what happened on television. My trainer was a seasoned veteran who would soon retire. She was one of those people who could hear a license plate tag and would know …

Why I Am a Dispatcher and Still Doing It

I began my dispatching career in Alliance, Nebraska in 1975. Working for the Alliance Police Department as a dispatcher/matron. I worked for them for 2 years and then my family became more important so I resigned. In December of 1979 I began working in another branch of law enforcement, for …

Telling Our Story

I didn’t plan to become a dispatcher. Like so many of my fellow brothers and sisters, I fell into the job as a back-up for the regular dispatcher when I was working as an EMT. Back in the 70’s, I was obsessed with the idea of being a paramedic thanks …

We Matter, We Save Lives

Every morning people wake up to get their day started. Ready to conquer their work day. Ready to complete the work load they already know they have ahead. As a 9-1-1 dispatcher we get up and wonder what kind of day or night is ahead of us. Will it be …

A Family, A Friend, A Co-Worker and A Life Saver

911 dispatch has been a part of my life since I was 23 years old, starting in the field in 2004. I started my career not knowing anything about this job or how it was going to change my way of thinking and how it was going to play a …

Not Like Every Day

That day that starts like every day. 911 calls, non-emergency calls, dispatching units, running names and vehicles, entering, locating, clearing, repeat, just like every day. Until that call comes in that says that all available personnel need to respond to the station for an emergency meeting. The dispatchers can’t all …

Why I Am a Public Safety Telecommunicator

My journey to be a public safety telecommunicator has been very different than most telecommunicators. I started as a police/fire dispatcher in northeast Indiana in the late 70s. There was no CAD, no 9-1-1, only rural route addressing outside the city limits, one shared radio channel and you worked alone …

A Day in the Life: My Story

My story is words. Words that alone are meaningless, but together, make up the very essence of my being. Words that changed me from the core, and have made me who I am. These words are my story. “My husband shot himself, we’re at his dad’s, I have no idea what …

January 8, 2011 – The True “First” Responders

It was one of those “once in a lifetime” events during your career that you pray will never be repeated. Even more than 5 years later I remember that day like it was yesterday. The impact of the events of that day will forever be ingrained in the memory of …

An Unusual 911 Call

This happened while I was working as a dispatcher for the Washington County Sheriffs Office in Blair, Nebraska. One morning I received a 911 call from a 12-year-old who said she was taking a bubble bath and her Dachshund jumped in the tub with her and ended up swallowing a …

It’s a BOY!

January 29th, 2015 started out in the dispatch center like any other day. We arrived at 0600 to start the shift, and settled in for the next 12 hours. At approximately 0830 Dispatcher Enloe answered a 911 call, “Fire and EMS Where is your Emergency?”. Immediately I knew this call …

Just When You Think You Have Heard It All

This year marks my 20th year in 9-1-1. I am a tenured dispatcher that still LOVES answering phones. For me, it is a reminder that no matter what is going on in my life, someone somewhere has a lot worse happening. Those are the bad calls. The other reason why …

911 Dispatch – A Newbie’s Journey

This is a story of 18 weeks of 911 dispatcher training. My hope is to inspire more potential dispatchers, enlighten trainers and bring hope to those already into training. I will hit my 2 year anniversary in November of this year and that amazes me! I am still learning on …

Unexpected Negotiations

I started my career as a 911/police dispatcher in 1998 at the Salt Lake City Police Dept. I grew up listening to my mom’s scanner and felt extra covert special because I had learned the 10 codes for the county. Much to my dismay I learned the SLC doesn’t use …

The Reason I’m a Public Safety Communicator

With my father being an EMT and firefighter and my mother a phone operator I knew I wanted a career where I too could make a difference and help others. I love the adrenalin rush of pursuits and high priority calls. I guess you could say I’m an adrenalin junky. …

Self Dispatched First Responder

On 04/21/97, I began my journey as a public servant with the Shreveport Fire Department. Our agency is the primary PSAP and the initial point of contact with the citizens of Caddo Parish. I had no previous call taking or dispatching experience prior to accepting my conditional offer of employment. …

Switched Frequency Helps Officer in Trouble

I began my career as a 911 dispatcher just about six years ago. Four short months into my career I heard my first “plea” for an officer assist over the radio. It’s a moment I will never forget and I believe it is the moment that confirmed that I want …

Who Does 911 Call When They Have A Problem?

As the person really behind (and under and inside) a console… I’m one of the people that 911 calls when they have a problem! Every call center has tons (literally TONS) of electronic equipment and when (not if !) it fails, one of us is on call 24/7, Christmas, Easter, …

A Chance

The first thing he said when I answered the phone was, “I just shot myself in the heart.” Given that he was still speaking, I figured he probably didn’t hit his heart, but the point was pretty clear. I established that he had in fact shot himself in the chest …

Nothing Else

My name is Wesley Hutchens and I have worked with Forsyth County 911 since May 2000 when I was hired as 911 telecommunicator. In 2010 I was promoted to Shift Supervisor and in 2014 I was promoted to Communications Training Officer. I am now responsible for training all new employees …

GPS Saved a Life

Roughly six months ago I was working a radio when I was notified by a call taker that she received a 911 call from a gentleman pleading for help and said he was going to hang himself. She had stamped a call based off the phase 2 wireless coordinates his …

Grab a Shovel

I started with Bridgeton PD in September of 1978 as a police dispatcher. I had no previous experience dispatching and was pretty intimidated by the radio. The fourth midnight watch into my training, my trainer decided to leave the building for a break, leaving me to handle calls alone while …

The Unsung Heroes

I began my career as a 911 telecommunicator in March 2012, after 4 years of working in emergency medical services. At the time I was looking to pursue a different career in public safety, when I found an advertisement for a local consolidated dispatch center in the suburban Chicago area. …

A Week of Events

We host a week of events. Mon-Fri we do “spirit week” and I pick a different theme for each day. We obtain lots of donations and we always host a food competition on Wednesday. This year’s competition is “chopped basket” and I chose 3 ingredients the employees must use to …

Quick Action Saves Man from Fully Engulfed Overturned Vehicle

I was sitting at the police console that dispatches for 4 cities including Black Diamond, Wash. on a Sunday morning. Black Diamond is a small town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and usually has 1 or 2 police officers working on any given shift. I received a notification …

NPSTW Cook-off Competition

Our center is looking at doing a friendly cook-off competition with other local center.  We do not have a commercial kitchen and are forced to cook creatively with crock pots, microwaves and nuwave cooktops.  So we’ve challenged our “neighbors” to bring their best dish.  

My Opinion

I know the phrase “everybody has got one.” These are just my thoughts and not intended to offend anyone. Working in the field of public service, especially law enforcement and 9-1-1 is similar to serving in the military and requires a special person. We seek employment in this field not …

Giving back

On the afternoon of 7/11/07 I was at work in Jacksonville, NC at a rehab facility for teen sex offenders when I got a call from a neighbor that I needed to come home. With further questioning I found out my wife Victoria had been shot and killed by her …

Tell Us Your Story

As a public safety telecommunicator, you’ve heard it all. Now we want the rest of the world to hear about you. For National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week 2017, we’re collecting your stories and sharing them on the NPSTW.org website to show what it’s like to be the one behind the …