Now is Your Moment!

By Toby Akers, Jr, CMCP, Founder & President, The Tenacious Telecommunicator

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While at work many of us evaluate our time based on our 8, 10, 12, or even 16 hour shift. However, as we look deeper, we see that our time is broken down into singular moments. Those moments could be a call, a radio transmission, or even an interaction. While some may seem insignificant, others will have ripple effects through our lives and the lives of others. In 1981, Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California took advantage of her moment to advocate for the 911 telecommunicators she worked alongside. Her ripple began in her community but made its way to President Clinton in 1994, when he signed the Presidential Proclamation, declaring the second week of April as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

Public Safety Telecommunicators are the lifeline of our nation’s public safety system. We are rarely seen, only heard. We quickly move from different tasks and processes sometimes within seconds. We are the calm and compassionate voices on the phone or radio. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is an important moment to recognize our 911 professionals. It allows us to showcase our career to our family, friends, neighbors, and community. In doing so, we are also building a stronger base to advocate for our industry in many ways. This advocacy could be for more local resources or much bigger items like our long overdue national reclassification.

While it is called National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW), how it is celebrated can vary from center to center. The key tenant in any NPSTW celebration is food, whether that is donuts, pizza, or a nice home cooked meal. While some may view this as insignificant, it is still a gesture of appreciation and eliminates the long discussions to answer the questions – where or what are we going to eat? Many centers also base their week-long celebration on a specific theme or have themes vary per day. These could influence the games that will be played or how telecommunicators dress. Some agencies show their appreciation and recognize their team with awards or gifts. Some local and state governments even get involved by enacting proclamations or passing resolutions recognizing the hard work and dedication of their Public Safety Telecommunicators.

There are many organizations that offer events and giveaways to telecommunicators during NPSTW. Be sure to keep an eye out to take advantage of these opportunities. Some organizations like mine, The Tenacious Telecommunicator, even offer resources to help you prepare for NPSTW. These resources include a template to request meals, a government resolution template, and even lists of possible themes/gifts/activities. Please take advantage of these free resources by visiting our website:

Even if your center does not celebrate NPSTW, you have an opportunity to change the narrative and make a difference in that moment. You could write thank you notes to each one of your coworkers or even take the time to thank everyone in person and wish them a happy NPSTW. Remember that one small moment can make a difference. Just like Patricia Anderson, the ripples caused by your actions can spread to your community, state, country, or to the world. There are so many opportunities to make a difference in our industry. Now is your moment, the question you need to answer is what will you do with it?

I want to wish everyone a Happy National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week! Stay tenacious and never stop pursuing your dreams!

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