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NENA Member Spotlight: Kim Augustine, ENP

Tuesday, December 20, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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This special feature highlights NENA members from various backgrounds, industry segments, experiences, and geographic locations. It offers members an opportunity to share their stories with their colleagues and the greater NENA community. Email NENA Member Services Director Bri Robinson if we should feature you or someone you know. 

NENA: Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and your history with NENA….

Kim Augustine: I was born and raised in Monroe, Michigan. I moved to Jackson, Tennessee in August of 1989 during my senior year of high school. I applied and was hired for the position of data technician at the Madison County 911 office in January of 1990. When the director announced his retirement in 2003, I applied for and was promoted to the position of Madison County 911 Director in July 2003. Madison County has a population of approximately 100,000 and I am responsible for acquiring and maintaining equipment within each PSAP; monitor to assure dispatcher training requirements are met and exceeded in all PSAP’s; manage the financial stability of the 911 district as well as numerous other day to day responsibilities.

I was appointed as the Secretary of the Tennessee Emergency Number Association Board in January 2004 and served in that position until September 2010. I took a few years away from the Tennessee Chapter Association to encourage others to get involved. I was elected as the West Tennessee Representative of the Tennessee Emergency Number Association Board in 2013 and served until 2015 when I was elected as Treasurer, which is the position I currently hold.

I received my ENP in February 2014 and took the CMCP class in January 2016.

NENA: What does 9-1-1 mean to you?

KA: 911 means working as a team to save lives. It takes all of us working together to get the information, locate the caller and dispatch the proper responders.

NENA: Why did you choose a career in public safety?

KA: I applied for the position of data technician while I was still in high school. I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into, however it was the best thing I ever did. Once you work in public safety, it is hard to explain, but it is just in your heart. I enjoy helping people and working with my public safety family. I often talk about retiring as I approach 30 years in public safety, but I am not certain I would be happy doing anything else. We all have days that we go home and say, "what just happened here”, but honestly, I would not be satisfied doing anything else.

NENA: What do you like best about your job?

KA: I enjoy watching 911 technology evolve over the years assuring that each citizen can contact 911 in the event of an emergency regardless of the type of device.

NENA: Is there a particular event or call that you are particularly proud of?

KA: On the evening of May 4, 2003, an F3 and F4 tornado touched down in Madison County, Jackson, Tennessee damaging a very large portion of our community. 66 people were injured and 11 fatalities were reported. Two of our PSAP’s were in the direct line of these tornadoes and our 911 professionals answered calls as long as they could before taking cover. They had bricks pummeling their buildings and debris flying all around. Once the tornadoes moved through, the restoration efforts began. With the assistance of state agencies as well as surrounding agencies, we were able to re-route 911 calls back to these PSAP’s within a few hours so they could begin answering calls again. A few days later, it was announced that I would be promoted to the Madison County 911 Director. To say it was an easy transition is far from true. We had to repair and rebuild a great deal of equipment to have our facilities operating at 100%, but we made it through and gained a great deal of experience and knowledge along the way.

NENA: What advice do you have for those who are new to the 9-1-1 profession?

KA: I encourage anyone that has a heart to help others, please join the 911 family. Whether you are taking the 911 call or implementing new technology in the PSAP’s, you will meet some amazing people. Through my years with 911, the most rewarding experience comes from working with NENA and my state chapter. NENA has always been my "go to” place to get information. My best advice to anyone new to the 911 profession is…..GET INVOLVED. Get involved in your community, get involved with NENA and get involved with your state chapter. These resources are a wealth of knowledge and always willing to assist you. Get involved and make a difference.

NENA: If you could convey one message to the public about 9-1-1 or being a 9-1-1 professional, what would it be?

KA: 911 professionals are the true first responders to any emergency. They calmly answer your call, assess your emergency, get an accurate location and dispatch the proper responders. They are the calm on the other end of the phone staying on the line until help arrives. Many times they do not know the outcome of the emergency and they continue to take those calls 24/7/365 working long hours, working holidays away from their families to provide assistance to their community.

NENA: What do you like to do in your spare time?

KA: Spare time…..what is that? :) When I am not working with 911, I am volunteering for the Tennessee Chapter of NENA. I enjoy traveling, playing sports, spending time outside, watching sports and most of all, I enjoy spending time with my Boxer dog Kota.

NENA: What is your guilty pleasure? What can you not live without?

KA: I will admit, my guilty pleasure is definitely Italian food.

NENA: Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

KA: Well most people say there is nothing I could do that would surprise them J, but I am a 10 gallon platelet donor and I volunteer for a Boxer Rescue group in Tennessee. I am from Michigan, moved to Tennessee and am an avid Alabama football fan. Yes, that is a bit odd to most, but have been a fan of the Tide since 1994.