9-1-1 dispatchers who shared work stories and advice with one another were less likely to experience burnout or quit, according to a study of dispatchers in nine cities. "What we were trying to build is a sense that people who work in 9-1-1 dispatch centers have, and should have, a really strong sense of professional identity in the same way that cops or firefighters or nurses do," says lead researcher Elizabeth Linos.
Police in Hutchinson, Kan., are reminding people not to call 9-1-1 in nonemergency situations after they got over 100 calls immediately following a small earthquake Sunday. In Whitley County, Ky., dozens of people called 9-1-1 after a mild earthquake struck Monday.
Middle and high school teachers in Blount County, Tenn., can now contact 9-1-1 by pushing a button on a pendant connected to the county's Situational Awareness Response Assistant, or SARA, alert system. In an emergency, 9-1-1 dispatchers can view what is happening via school security cameras.
A powerful synthetic opioid called carfentanil poses a particular risk to first responders, who need to wear protective gloves and clothing when helping someone who has overdosed, according to experts in Cambria County, Pa. County 9-1-1 Coordinator Robbin Melnyk says callers should give as much information as possible so first responders can know if the drug, which is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, is present at a scene.
Harford County, Md., Executive Barry Glassman has proposed giving volunteer first responders up to $20,000 for student loan repayments in an effort to boost recruitment. The idea now goes before the County Council.
Former Chicago police officer Richard Wooten has created an app called Crime Agitator with which users can reach 9-1-1 and five emergency contacts by pushing a button. Meanwhile, public safety agencies in several Indiana communities are using an app called Relay, which lets users contact authorities for nonemergency concerns.
California Assemblymember Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, has introduced Assembly Bill 1945, legislation designed to recognize the valuable work performed by public safety dispatchers by classifying them as first responders. "I congratulate Assemblymember Rudy Salas for his introduction of important legislation that would rightfully designate 9-1-1 dispatchers as first responders," said Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). "For too long, federal and state agencies have categorized the work of 9-1-1 professionals as administrative or clerical in nature, which is inaccurate and a disservice to the specialized, lifesaving work done by dispatchers every day."