Updating Telecommunicator Standards and Training

    Training for Public Safety Telecommunicators, initial and continuing, is exceedingly important as they provide essential services to the public in an ever-expanding and rapidly changing public safety environment. Public Safety Communication Centers...

   APCO listens to the public safety communications community and develops programs responding to the community's needs. The P33 Training Program Certification process is not complicated or costly. Centers apply for certification and submit their curriculum, training materials and supporting documentation for compliance review. Upon completion of this review, and verification that the training program does provide trainees with both the required content and focuses on the demonstration of decision and psychomotor skills cited within the standards, that version of the training program shall be approved and recognized as "APCO Project 33 Certified -- 2010 Telecommunicator." This certification will be valid for a period of three years and will require recertification on a three-year cycle thereafter. The certified agency will receive permission to use the correlating certification mark on the training program, Web site, uniforms and more.

   APCO continues to establish training standards to effectively prepare all responders to better understand their roles and responsibilities within both the public safety communications industry and public safety in general. The operational impact of expanding public policy and technology forces careful and timely review of these standards on a regular basis. The APCO ANS process requires every standard to be reviewed on a regular basis. The recertification requirements of this program are extremely important as they require agencies to evolve their training program accordingly.

   APCO also promotes networking and information sharing, especially regarding innovative training ideas and methods. This is even more important with the 2010 program as it requires 24 hours of continuing education for each Public Safety Telecommunicator. APCO recently launched PSConnect, an online collaboration site for public safety professionals, a perfect tool for sharing resources.

   Building and implementing a successful agency training program requires many resources and a good deal of dedication. Submitting for certification demonstrates the agency's commitment to training and to meeting national standards. Receiving certification for a training program is a major accomplishment for the agency, its staff and the community it serves.

   APCO suggests agencies encourage their staff to achieve APCO Project 33 Training Program Certification. The deadline to apply for certification and be recognized at the APCO Annual Conference & Exposition is April 1, 2011. If submitted before January 1, 2011 the application fee is discounted.

   Editor's note: APCO standards can be downloaded at www.apcostandards.org or e-mail standards@apcointl.org. PSConnect can be accessed at www.psconnect.org.

   With more than 31 years public safety communications experience, Bill Carrow is the APCO International president. His duties include administration of three 911 PSAPs, a computer data center and a communications technical support unit.

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