The road to progress

How would you feel if you went in for your state licensing exam to become a dog groomer and failed? You studied all the styling standards for different breeds. You know your grooming styles for different breeds. You know how to bathe the dogs to...

Now in 2013

We are working on two very exciting national initiatives that hold promise of guiding states to a uniform level of service and proficiency in the nation’s emergency communications centers. We are part of a 911 industry-wide consortium creating a “Standard for Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement within the Public Safety Communications Center.” This standard defines the industry recommended minimum components of a Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) program within a Public Safety Communications Center, and recommends effective procedures for implementing the components of the QA/QI program to evaluate performance of public safety communications personnel. The goal is to have this standard formally introduced to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and be developed into an ANSI recognized standard.

On April 11,the Denise Amber Lee Foundation will participate in a Telecommunicator Training Standards Forum hosted by the National 911 Program. The forum will consist of key 911 professionals and stakeholders to discuss the process for establishing the minimum, national-level guidelines for the training of 911 telecommunicators, managers, authorities and technical support personnel.

The invitation states that presently, while some training and standards exist, there is an opportunity to define how nationwide training standards, minimum guidelines, or requirements could be implemented. It goes on to state, without this, a lack of uniformity and service delivery will persist now and during the transition to Next Generation 911.

To me, it is no different traveling from one PSAP jurisdiction to another than flying from one air traffic control zone to another. There MUST be a uniform set of training standards and procedures to assure an equal level of service nationwide.

The air traffic control industry figured this out successfully years ago. Why is the 911 industry so late in recognizing this essential need? Let’s hope in the near future when your loved ones are traveling far from home and dial that familiar, “universal number” in their time of need, they will receive a “universal level of service”. Liz Jones, State Telecommunication Training Coordinator for the State of Arkansas said, “I have to tell you that without Denise’s tragedy, I doubt that Arkansas would have ever gotten training for our telecommunicators”.

Let’s not sacrifice one more loved one as collateral damage to mediocre training.

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