So you want to celebrate public safety telecommunicators week, but you don’t have any designated funds? Here are some creative low/no cost ideas shared by your peers:
- Allow everyone to wear jeans or casual attire for the week.
- Encourage field personnel to come in and thank their dispatchers.
- Give coupons allowing the holders to wear jeans to work a couple times during the year, or to take their break the last hour of work so they can leave early.
- Write cards to each employee thanking them for the number of years of service to your community.
- Send press releases to the local newspaper and radio stations. (For starters, see the sample press release provided on this site.)
- Pin up big envelopes for each dispatcher and ask co-workers to write a comment for each one saying why they appreciate that person. This works best with a small department, although a larger agency could divide the envelopes into groups. To keep comments anonymous, type up all the comments for each person.
- Ask employees to submit little known (not too personal) facts about themselves and make co-workers guess who belongs to which facts. Hand out a simple prize or a hand-made trophy to the person who gets the most right and to the person who fools the most people.
- Establish a theme for a few days or the whole week.
- Send an e-mail to the dispatch center/s where you live and thank them for their service to the community. (Offered by a retiree who missed planning banquets, cooking meals, and decorating comm centers.)
By doing a little legwork upfront, your PSAP might be able to get donations of goods and services that can be used for recognition during NPSTW. Here are a few ideas:
- Ask the city’s health and wellness team to provide staff with a free health check-up.
- Get local restaurants to donated gift cards and pair them with freebies you pick up throughout the year to make each telecommunicator a gift basket.
- Get command staff and other community leaders to wash cars for the call takers and dispatchers.
- Ask a sign-making company to donate a banner that can be hung every year for NPSTW.
We know there are many more ways to thank public safety dispatchers for all their hard work. What great low-budget ideas have you used?