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9-1-1 Leaders Gather to Address Critical Public Safety Issues

Wednesday, June 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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Heroes and Leaders Honored; Hundreds Participate in Charity 5K Event; Membership Surpasses 11,000

Every day, America’s 9-1-1 call takers answer an estimated 600,000 calls for help, with all requiring extraordinary attention and composure. To advance the cause of better 9-1-1 service to the public, more than 2,000 people who lead, staff, and support America’s 9-1-1 systems gathered in Indianapolis on June 11-16 for the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA) Annual Conference & Expo. The conference agenda focused on critical public safety issues including text-to-9-1-1, location accuracy, and the ongoing transition to more powerful digital and multimedia technologies.

In one of the most exciting developments, NENA outgoing board president Christy Williams announced that the organization’s membership has grown from about 7,000 to more than 11,000 since the introduction in 2014 of a new tier of membership for front-line 9-1-1 call takers.

On another front, the NG911 Now Coalition, comprised of national public safety and industry leaders focused on the acceleration of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) deployment, announced the creation of the "NG911 NOW Partners Program.” The new program is designed to expand participation in the coalition and to coalesce national, state, and local efforts around deploying NG911 by the end of 2020.

The first new partners of the coalition are the Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC) at Texas A&M University; the iCERT 911 Education Foundation (9EF); the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC); and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). For more information on the partners program, click here.

"Friends of 9-1-1” Scholarships Awarded; 5K Race Off Conference

The third-annual Friends of 9-1-1 "Run for 9-1-1” 5K run/walk kicked off the conference at White River State Park, with more than 200 participants raising funds for education, training, and wellness programs for 9-1-1 professionals.

Friends of 9-1-1 also awarded five emergency call takers across the country with Telecommunicator Continuing Education Scholarships. The recipients were recognized for their dedication and outstanding performance as call takers. This year’s recipients are:

· Erin Miller with Hendricks County, Indiana Communications Center – sponsored by Hamra Enterprises;

· Ashleigh Aubrey of Roscommon County, Michigan Central Dispatch – sponsored by Hamra Enterprises;

· Laura Hoffman of the Georgetown/Scott County, Kentucky 9-1-1 Center - sponsored by Enbridge and Vector Pipeline;

· Rachel Robbins with the Maine Department of Public Safety; and

· Warren Darger from the Colorado City Communications Center in Arizona.

Awards Recognize Heroic and Dedicated Service

During the conference, 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 Lifetime Achievement Award, to Bob Cobb, ENP for his decades-long commitment to serving NENA and his work to develop many of its longest-standing programs and initiatives.

Other awardees included:

· Presidential Award for Advocacy: Richard Ray from the City of Los Angeles Department of Disability;

· Presidential Award for Leadership: David Tuttle from the Peoria County, IL Emergency Telephone System Board;

· Telecommunicator of the Year: Samantha Morris from the Paulding County, GA 9-1-1 Center; and

· NENA Volunteer of the Year: Cheryl Benjamin from the New York State Office of Information Technology Services.

New Board Installed as Association Celebrates Milestones & Achievements

Also during the conference, NENA’s new slate of board members took office. During her remarks to the membership, new board president Renee Hardwick, ENP, of Horry County, SC, E9-1-1 shared her vision for NENA’s future, highlighting her desire for the organization to tackle technology, staffing, and funding issues.

Nine other executive board members were sworn in at the Conference: First Vice President Rob McMullen, ENP; Second Vice President Jamison Peevyhouse, ENP; Past President Christy Williams, ENP; Northeastern Region Director Erin Elrod, ENP; North Central Region Director Bob Currier, ENP; Southeastern Region Director Linda Draughn-Woloski, ENP; Western Region Director Monica Million, ENP; Canadian Region Director Nancy Banks, ENP; and Private Sector Director Ron Bloom, ENP.

Inspirational Keynote Speakers

The conference featured keynote remarks from three inspiring speakers: leadership expert Jake Wood; Boston Marathon hero Natalie Stavas; and master motivator Rick Lasky. These speakers shared their personal stories of team building, managing chaotic situations, and leadership under pressure, and they thanked the attendees for their hard work and efforts that help save lives every day.

New Goals Set for Friends of 9-1-1

Friends of 9-1-1 is a NENA initiative that provides scholarships for continuing education and wellness programs for 9-1-1 professionals around the country.

During the conference, outgoing president Christy Williams announced three new goals for the initiative:

· 50 by 50: NENA aims to increase the number of Telecommunicator Continuing Education Scholarships from 5 to 50 per year by 2018, the 50th anniversary of the start of 9-1-1 service in America;

· Wellness Seminar: NENA plans to develop a 9-1-1 Wellness Seminar that will be free to 9-1-1 professionals who will become wellness ambassadors in their centers; and

· Online Training: NENA envisions a free online training program that will instruct call takers on how to handle the challenges associated with wireless 9-1-1 calls and new technologies.


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