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New NENA Standard on 9-1-1 Stress Management Available for Public Review & Comment

Wednesday, December 19, 2012  
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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NENA Standard on 9-1-1 Acute/Traumatic and Chronic Stress Management NENA-STA-XXXDRAFThas been posted to the NENA website and is available for the Public Review and Comment startingDecember 18, 2012and ends onJanuary 11, 2013at5PM ET.

All comments are to be submitted using the NENA Document - Comment Tracking Form and email to no later than January 11, 2013, at 5pm ET.

Concern about the impacts of 9-1-1 work-related stress has increased in recent years among the membership of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). Findings from Roberta Troxell’s research released in 2008 indicate that 16.3 percent of dispatchers may be at risk of Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder (STSD)[1]. She found that nearly half of dispatchers in her study reported feelings of intense fear, horror and or helplessness in response to calls involving death or injury to members of field response teams, death or serious injury to children, and interactions with suicidal callers.[2] Such reactions are evidence of exposure to traumatic events as will be discussed later.

Implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) may further increase the risk of incurring STSD.[3] During his 2010 tenure, NENA President Craig Wittington proposed the formation of the NENA Working Group on 9-1-1 Stress. Nearly fifty 9-1-1 professionals, mental health subject matter experts, and 9-1-1 vendors subsequently joined to establish the present document providing an industry wide standard for Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) defining essential measures for the care and support of 9-1-1 personnel to prevent and manage PSAP work-related stress.

This Standard comprehensively addresses the risks posed by psychological stress on the personal health and organizational performance of PSAPs in North America. These risks and the costs of unmanaged stress are high for all 9-1-1 stakeholders—the dispatcher, the organization of the local PSAP, field responders who rely on dispatch personnel on scene, and for the public who depend on 9-1-1 for emergency service.

Click here for the document.

[1]Troxell, R., 2008. Doctoral dissertation:Indirect exposure to the trauma of others: the experiences of 9-1-1 telecommunicators,University of Illinois at Chicago, 2008. 308 pages.


[3]NG9-1-1 capability is proposed to "…enable the public to send emergency communications to 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) via text, photos, videos, and data and enhance the information available to PSAPs and first responders for assessing and responding to emergencies”. Source: Federal Register Volume 76, Number 197 (Wednesday, October 12, 2011), [Proposed Rules], p. 63258. From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [].