By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
The National Public Safety Dispatchers Week is celebrated every second week of April each year. This week April 11-17, 2021 aims to honor all 911 Fire/Police/Paramedic Dispatchers & Staff whose work is involved in public safety communication. This weeklong event gives recognition and expresses gratitude to all those people dedicated to saving the lives of the people.
Understanding the Job of a 911 Dispatcher
Most of the time, people have no idea how hard the job of emergency communicators is. They carry a great responsibility because they are the first line of hope or defense for those people in need. They are the first ones to get in contact with people who are in danger. If you still have not fully realized that yet, then it is all the more reason for you to celebrate this week.
To Become Prepared for Emergency Situations
Also, a good reason to celebrate this event is that by doing so, you can get yourself familiarized with the mechanics of what you should do in case of an emergency. Knowing how to contact a 911 Dispatcher and what to say will perhaps even save your life or those of others.
Review the 911 Emergency Call Advice
A good way to spend your time this week is to review the 911 emergency call advice as discussed below:
- 9-1-1 is for police, fire, and medical emergencies only.
- Details are critical. Stay on the line with the 9-1-1 operator and answer all the questions that they ask. Provide an accurate location, if you do not know the exact address, provide the call taker with all the details that you can. Look for landmarks, cross streets, signs, and buildings. First responders need an accurate location to respond as fast as possible.
- Try to stay calm and speak clearly.
- Do not hang up when calling 9-1-1. If you called by mistake, let the operator know.
- DO NOT call 9-1-1 for jokes or prank calls.
This is a good week to tell them how grateful you are for doing their job appropriately. You can also make this event as your opportunity to say thank you, or a letter of appreciation to a public safety dispatch center near you.
“Just because you do not see their face, doesn’t mean they do not save lives. Behind every hero, there is a guardian looking out for them and they are the hero’s guardian. It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos!”