9-1-1 Leaders Tackle Pressing Public Safety Issues in Annual Conference and Expo
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Posted by: Chris Nussman
and Leaders Are Honored; Education, Training, and Public-Private Partnerships
Are Fostered; Nashville
Celebrities Drop By and Praise 9-1-1’s "Unsung Heroes”
Federal policy pronouncements, awards for heroic and dedicated emergency
service, renewed and expanded corporate leadership, and hundreds of hours of
meaningful dialogue and training were among the highlights of the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA’s) Annual Conference & Expo,
held June 14-19 in Nashville.
Nearly 2,000 people who lead and staff America’s
9-1-1 systems came together with an agenda focused on key public safety
issues, such as text- to-9-1-1, wireless location accuracy, cybersecurity, and
the ongoing transition to more capable IP- and broadband-powered technologies.
America’s 9-1-1 call takers answer an estimated 600,000 calls per day, with at
least two-thirds of those coming from wireless phones. Since the nation’s
9-1-1 services are run almost entirely by local and regional governments, there
is a constant need for all stakeholders to work together to keep up with
advancing technology, education and training, and governance issues.
Making Progress on Options to Deter Nuisance Calls to 9-1-1
On Tuesday, a senior official at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
said the agency is making progress on the issue of 9-1-1 calls from
"non-subscriber-initialized” phones – those not subscribed to any particular
carrier or attached to an existing customer or service plan. The FCC
requires that wireless phone companies permit 9-1-1 dialing
fromanywireless phone, so that people in trouble can always call
for help.However, in recent years, the number of non-subscribed phones
has grown in tandem with the total number of cell phones, and so have nuisance
calls to 9-1-1. Many parents give old handsets to their children to play
with, and others use unsubscribed phones to commit crimes or harass public
safety agencies. FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief David
Simpson told the 9-1-1 leaders that his staff is
working on options for regulatory action, and he hopes to bring them before the
FCC commissioners for consideration this summer.
Simpson also shared his thoughts on text-to-9-1-1;
cybersecurity concerns; and the transition from traditional circuit-switched
telephone technologies to Internet Protocol-based networks. "When it
comes to 9-1-1,” he said, "96 percent is not an ‘A’. As call centers move
into the IP world, they face new opportunities but also new challenges.
NENA has played a valuable leadership role in addressing these issues.”
and Speakers Recognize Heroic and Dedicated Service
In another conference highlight, a number of
individuals were recognized for their heroism and dedication to 9-1-1
excellence. NENA presented its most prestigious award, the William E. Stanton
Award, to Mary Boyd, a former president of NENA and current Vice President for
External Affairs at Intrado, for her 30-plus years of service to NENA.
Boyd was among the earliest leaders of NENA in the 1980s and
has served in many key roles since then.
"In my nearly 40 years of public safety service, I
know of no individual that has done more to serve 9-1-1 and NENA throughout her
long and distinguished professional career than Mary Boyd,” said another NENA
past president, Bill Hinkle, as he presented Ms. Boyd with the award. "Whether
serving the association in the public sector or during her years at Intrado,
through her unwavering dedication she has never stopped being a champion for
NENA and public safety communications. She exemplifies the very essence
of the qualities and attributes the [Stanton Award] represents.”
"Mary is truly the First Lady of NENA,” added then-NENA President Bernard Brown. "I cannot think of a more deserving
honoree. Everyone who works in public safety and every caller who reaches out
to 9-1-1 in a moment of crisis owes Mary a debt of gratitude; her drive,
tenacity, energy, and extraordinary commitment to improving emergency
communications have undoubtedly made 9-1-1 better and America a safer place.”
Other awardees included:
Terri Brooks of Summit
County 9-1-1 in Park City, Utah was recognized
by 9-1-1 Cares for saving a man who shot himself in a remote area of Utah and
was able to call 9-1-1 but had no idea where he was. Brooks stayed on the
line for 41 minutes and helped the man control the bleeding while
coordinating search efforts.
Richard Frankish of the Mt.
Juliet Police in Tennessee was recognized by 9-1-1
Cares for protecting a police officer’s life by taking numerous calls from the
public and coordinating allied emergency response during an officer-ambush
Amanda Miller of Hamilton
County 9-1-1 in Tennessee was recognized with the
Dispatcher Hero award from 9-1-1 FOR KIDS, for her role in protecting two young
sisters during a home invasion. Older sister Bre-Asia Marrow was
recognized with the Youth Hero award from 9-1-1 FOR KIDS. The
dramatic story was covered on Good Morning America.
The National Center
for Missing & Exploited Children
recognized the following eight 9-1-1 centers for completing the Missing Kids
Readiness Project, thereby demonstrating preparedness for responding to a
missing child incident: Hardin County Emergency Communications District,
Tennessee; Lake Oswego Communications, Oregon; Charleston County Consolidated
9-1-1 Center in South Carolina; Hamilton County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications
District, Tennessee; Dickson County E-9-1-1 Center, Tennessee; Henderson County
9-1-1, Tennessee; Hawkins County E-9-1-1, Tennessee; and Ogle County Sheriff’s
Office 9-1-1 Center in Illinois.
Achievements for "Friends of 9-1-1”
The conference was also noteworthy for several
strides made by "Friends
of 9-1-1,” an initiative that raises funds for
education, training, and wellness programs for 9-1-1 professionals:
Scholarships: Five emergency call takers from across the country received
the first-ever Friends of 9-1-1 Telecommunicator Continuing Education
Support from Shell: Shell
Pipeline presented a check for $5,000 to support
future Friends of 9-1-1 programs. The company also presented
the autographed trunk lid from Team Penske’s No. 22
Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion, driven by Joey Logano, which
carried a "Friends of 9-1-1” decal during a NASCAR race on March 2.
First 5k run/walk: The first-ever Friends of 9-1-1 "Run
for 9-1-1” 5k run/walk was held in downtown
Nashville on June 14, with more than 300 friends participating and raising
funds for the cause. Tennessee Titans players Maikon Bonai and Beau
Brinkley showed up to lend their support.