Blogs

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The CPRA (Southern California APCO) Chapter is once again offering the commemorative 2017 National Telecommunicators Week Buttons for sale. Proceeds go to supporting the Chapter's Annual Telecommunicator Awards Banquet. This will be the 29th year that the CPRA Chapter has held its annual banquet which will be held in conjunction with the 2017 Western Regional Conference during National Telecommunicators Week. To order buttons, visit the CPRA Chapter website at www.cpra.org. Quantities are limited
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In my career of being in public safety telecommunications I am amazed at how far we have come when it comes to technology aiding a Telecommunicator in finding a caller and getting him/her the appropriate help. But, come on, how far is technology going to go before we realize that we simply are not ready? Up until now, Telecommunicators have never been on the scene to physically see the demands of law enforcement, fire fighters or emergency services personnel, but this is changing as technology is giving them the eyes to see. In North Carolina, Telecommunicators are now able to receive Text-to-911, and this includes the ability for callers to send images. ...
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Suicide training

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Was looking to see if anyone could share their policy for suicidal callers. Also, any suggestions for a training program for dealing with suicidal callers?
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Global discipline is an easy way for a manager or supervisor to avoid having a difficult conversation. Often times this occurs during a staff meeting. The manager calls a meeting and gives a lecture in the hopes that the employee needing redirection realizes that the message is intended for him/her. The reality is majority of the time the employee misses the boat, thinking the message applies to someone else and the cycle of misbehavior and poor performance continues. You may be thinking, How does she know this? Well, as a telecommunicator who was promoted to communications manager with no succession plan, no leadership development, or guidance I was guilty ...
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How do you enjoy Thanksgiving this year when you voted differently than your relatives? It may depend upon who you voted for, and whether you think you won or lost. Here are some random thoughts based on Stop Workplace Drama, and No-Drama Leadership on how you can enjoy time with your family this Thanksgiving. The one with clarity navigates the ship If you set an intention for how you want Thanksgiving to go in advance you have a better chance of achieving your desired outcome. If the dinner is at your house, you have even more control of what boundaries you want to put in place. Perhaps you will decide that politics ...
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All, We were looking to revamp our employee evaluations when the question came up as to their legitimacy in actually evaluating/improving workplace performance. We believe it to be a common practice that eventually leads to improved performance but how do we know? In that vein, we have created a small survey to lend some credibility to the employee eval process or send it packing and develop something else. If you wouldn't mind spending 5 minutes of your time completing the survey below, I'll be grateful. And if we get enough responses, we'll share the data. Thanks! Audrey Myers Program Specialist Stockton (CA) Fire Department Link - ...
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Employee turnover taxes your time, your budget and puts strain on your seasoned staff. You know the routine. You take a deep breath and get on the hamster wheel. You post the positions, advertise the vacancies, process applications, conduct interviews, eliminate unqualified candidates and finally you hire four people. Then you go through the arduous task of technical training, hoping your seasoned staff will be patient and helpful. After six months, youre lucky if one remains. As a director in public safety communications I have dealt with these issues, I realized that part of the reason people quit is because they dont understand the demands and expectations ...
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Death of a Member

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Pennsylvania APCO is saddened to advise that our chapter's longtime Secretary, Diane Benner, passed away this morning. Diane had been a mainstay for years in AP CO here in Pennsylvania, as well as on the regional and national levels. Thanks to her, numerous telecommunicators were trained over the many years. Diane served as chapter secretary and also on many conference committees. She was a voice that guided emergency service responders for years in Columbia and Montour Counties. She also volunteered with local EMS agencies. We, at Pennsylvania APCO, will miss her sense of humor and friendship. We also offer condolences to her family. Arrangements have not ...
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Does this sound the least bit familiar? That’s not my job! I don’t get paid enough to do that! That’s not fair. Has your open door become a revolving door of negativity and complaints? You already deal with the public’s drama. You don’t need workplace drama! Nowhere is the impact of workplace drama more dangerous than public safety. Every day you handle life or death situations while Big Brother watches every move. If anyone messes up, you are subject to litigation. Leaders who work in public safety communications experience mental stress, burnout, and a higher threat for turnover due to the nature of this high-stress profession and work ...
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Leadership is never as easy as it looks. No matter how strong the work-ethic, or how great the technical performance, leaders at almost every level experience some of the same challenges. Do any of these issues sound familiar? The star employee isn’t “playing well” with others Misunderstandings resulted in lost business Difficult conversations are avoided due to fear or time factors Inheriting a poor performer who has tenure or seniority Emotional stressors of being asked to do more with less Navigating through the resistance of unwanted change Overcoming the “Us versus Them” mentality Ineffective ...
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I usually do not comment on the open forms too often or on the blogs but this one certainly peaked my interests. And I like to play Devils advocate...So? One of the other blogs had this topic about a dispatcher coming into work and complaining because her computer at her desk wasn't working correctly. And the she watched the complaining go on for 45 minutes before she went out to the desk and actually fixed the issue. Now other co-workers had joined in this "complaining" as well as the original dispatcher. So the APCO member asked the question why wouldn't she just ask someone to get it fixed? (basically I am summarizing here of course) So I thought ...
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Does anyone have a format of questions that are asked when someone calls in saying they just drove into high water.
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I am in need of any standards in place for hearing and vision for emergency dispatchers. If you have any standards for this, I would love to hear them. Thank you
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There are two things I am passionate about 9-1-1 and traveling. Okay, in all fairness, I am passionate about my kids too, but they are grown now and have their lives. Last year I started a Texas 9-1-1 Cruise. We are fortunate in Texas because we have a cruise terminal in Galveston. The first year we did a 4 night cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, and had 37 people in our group. This past January we went on the 2nd Annual Texas 9-1-1 Cruise with 48 people. The weather was AMAZING. The cruise was a much needed vacation for those of us in 9-1-1. We have a couple of events, some of us eat dinner together, and some people get on the ship and do their own thing the entire ...
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According to the dictionary, nouns are people, places or things. When people talk about Next Generation Emergency Services or NG911, it is often in the context of a noun, yet it is not a person, and it certainly isn’t a place. You may consider it ‘a thing’, however, I can explicitly tell you that it is not, at least not in the physical sense. NG911 is not something you can buy, and plug into your existing Public Safety network, making a miraculous transformation to new services; yet it is often erroneously described this way. Personally, I believe NG911 is best described as a ‘solution’. It’s comprised of several components, each with a specific function. ...
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Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would just stop their drama? If it wasn’t for city/county government, your boss, and your employees things would just sail along, right? But…is it really your boss? Is it really city/county government? Is it really your employees? What is Drama? I get all kinds of answers, from “we work with all women, therefore we have drama,” all the way to “you ought to meet my employees,” and even “my boss is a jerk!” The problem with these statements is that we are looking outside of ourselves and blaming others for the drama. The first step in dealing with drama is to look in the mirror and stop blaming. Here’s your tip: ...
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Changing the Game: While the age-old adage “Don’t fix it if it’s not broken” still holds true, there are times when change is required to move the yardstick ahead. When reviewing 9-1-1 emergency services for commercial enterprise networks, the same holds true. With everything we must understand in the network, E9-1-1 is just one more thing we don’t have time to learn, and IT administrators often tend to believe that what sounds logical and appears to be the most obvious. This is often erroneously considered to be the accepted and safest path, despite the availability of alternative, more cost effective options. By nature, we are creatures of habit, ...
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AN AUDIO VERSION OF THIS BLOG IS HERE ON SOUNDCLOUD Clearly the digits 911 are a brand that is recognized worldwide. For anyone living in the United States, we are taught at a very early age that these numbers can, and will, provide you with assistance in a dire emergency. They are so ingrained in our culture, that for many, the very first instinct is to dial 911. With the massive explosion of subscribers of cellular devices exceeding 100% in the US, most calls today originate from these devices; this also holds true for calls to emergency services. This leads to a recipe for disaster, as the present day 911 network has unfortunately stagnated ...
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Without argument, communications is at the core of all social interaction today. The agency tasked with regulating interstate and international communication that occurs by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories is the Federal Communications Commission . It’s this US government agency that is overseen by Congress that maintains itself as the primary authority for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation. The agency tasked with regulating interstate and international communication that occurs by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, ...
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You know the type: He or she is gossipy, passive aggressive and always looking to stir up trouble. That's right: It's the office drama queen -- and there's one in every office. "There is not one business that doesn't experience at least some drama on occasion. When there are human relationships there is potential for drama," says Marlene Chism, author of "Stop Workplace Drama: Train Your Team to Have No Complaints, No Excuses and No Regrets." "Misunderstandings happen even between highly evolved people who have good intentions. No matter how great the hiring practices, we human beings create a lot of drama when we don't know how to master our energy or ...
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