Have You Hugged Your 9-1-1 Dispatcher This Week?

Okay, well that’s good. Wait until next week to do it! April 10 -16, 2011 is National Public Safety Telecommunications week here in the United States. This is a federally designated week set aside to recognize the efforts of the more than 500,000 men and women who serve as 9-1-1 operators or dispatchers or Communications Officers in cities, counties and towns across the country. They are your first point of contact when you need help. They are the calming, professional voice you’ll get on the other end of the phone when you dial 9-1-1. They are the “good guys”, the lifeline and the support system.

Nobody who dials 9-1-1 is having a good day. But your bad day is their typical day, every day. Their training and skills prepare them for the worst of human nature and crisis, 24/7/365. I am fortunate and proud to say that I work with some of the very best of them. I have seen them operate like the gears of a clock in the midst of events that would turn many people into quivering blobs of jelly. They are heroes just like any other first responder in a police cruiser, a fire truck or an ambulance. They deserve medals. They deserve praise and recognition…not just next week, but all the time.

We’ve got our fair share of goodies, giveaways and events to celebrate here next week. Hopefully all of our Communications Officers already know how important and valued they are, so next week will be just icing on the cake. But during this week, we will especially salute all of them for their dedicated efforts on our behalf.

Your community has a dedicated 9-1-1 Center as well. I urge you to consider doing something to recognize them. Send them a card and let them know that you appreciate the fact that they will always answer that call. Call them up and tell them “thanks!” for a continued job well done. (But please use the non-emergency number, DON’T DIAL 9-1-1!) Bake them a cake (food always seems to be appreciated around here). Do something, anything to remind them that they are needed and appreciated in every community.

Got some unique and interesting suggestions on how to recognize them? Please share it here – I’d love to hear how you recognize the Communications Officers in your community!

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