MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Muscatine Joint Communications Center (MUSCOM) is celebrating the second full week of April (April 12-18) as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
The week is sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.
Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson officially proclaimed April 12-18 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in Muscatine and honored MUSCOM’s staff by signing an official proclamation during the April 3 City Council meeting.
Mayor Broderson reminds us that emergencies that require police, fire, or emergency medical services can occur at any time.
“Public Safety Telecommunicators are the first and most critical contact our citizens have with emergency services,” Mayor Broderson said in the proclamation. “They are the single vital link for our police officers and firefighters by monitoring their activities by radio, providing them information, and ensuring their safety.”
Recent events have highlighted the work of telecommunications professionals at MUSCOM and around the country. The outbreak of COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for the fire service around the world according to Barry Furey in an article for firehouse.com.
“Nowhere has the impact of the coronavirus been felt more sharply than in the dispatch center, with jurisdictions such as New York City reporting record numbers of 9-1-1 calls,” Furey wrote. “However, despite bearing the brunt of real emergencies and increased public concern, dispatchers are also our first line of defense in the battle against this disease.”
Those that work as dispatchers lie between the Thin Red Line, the Thin White Line, and the Thin Blue Line of public safety. Dispatchers are the Thinnest Gold Line, the line that represents those who are mostly heard but rarely seen. They are the calm voice in the dark of night, the golden glue that holds it all together.
They are the first people you talk to when you call with a crisis. Even though dispatchers cannot see what is happening, they are the eyes and ears of emergency responders – the guiding angels who ensure that the right responders get to an emergency as fast as possible, and who keep responders safe as they help people in crisis. They are the calming, reassuring voice you hear when your world starts to fall apart.
They are among the ranks of service employees that include health care professionals, postal workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, law enforcement, fire fighters and EMS professionals. This special group of “essential” employees work under all circumstances and conditions.
Thank you to all MUSCOM dispatchers and dispatchers nationwide.
APCO International® (www.apcointl.org) – APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals and supports the largest U.S. membership base of any public safety association. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide – and the welfare of the general public as a whole – by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach. For more information, visit www.npstw.org.