This Week Is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week (April 10-16, 2011)

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International thanks all telecommunications personnel in the public safety community this week for continued efforts to preserve the public’s safety.

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week (April 10-16, 2011) is designated to recognize the hard work and dedication, which provide a vital link to the public safety services.

Citizens are urged to recognize all the sacrifices and expertise involved in working in a telecommunications personnel position — long hours, missed holidays, life-and-death stressful situations, multi-tasking, emergency medical dispatching, and understanding new technologies and computer systems.


Telecommunications operators and emergency medical dispatchers are professional telecommunicators, tasked with the gathering of information related to police emergencies, fire emergencies, and medical emergencies.

Dispatcher tasks include technical proficiency in police and crime databases that help identify a person with a criminal history or a wanted status, which helps police officer safety and performance in arresting criminals.

Fire dispatching requires proficiency in assigning the appropriate equipment and resources to fire scenes and disasters.

Emergency medical dispatchers include the provision of assistance and instructions by voice, prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services, and the dispatching and support of EMS resources responding to an emergency call. The term Emergency Medical Dispatcher is also a certification level and a professional designation, certified through the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) and other agencies. Many dispatchers, whether certified or not, use a standard Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol to instruct people on the scene on what to do until help arrives.