In an emergency, there is an immense amount of pressure on emergency dispatchers as the first point of contact. Emergency telecommunicators are answering calls daily from people in their community in crisis. Remaining calm, composed, and professional in an emergency is not a job for the weary, and the ability for the call taker to do this could make a huge difference in the outcome of the emergency situation. It is important that we take care of this first line of defense.
Fortunately, PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) are recognizing the importance of emotional wellness and are taking steps to ensure the health and well-being of their emergency telecommunicators. As you make the NG9-1-1 transition, you can do the same. Here are some of the measures that are being implemented:
As PSAPS make the NG9-1-1 transition and begin training, they are also providing training and support programs to help their telecommunicators manage stress, trauma, and emotional distress. These programs include critical incident stress management (CISM) training, peer support programs, and employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide confidential counseling and mental health services. Training also includes sessions for managers to learn how to create an open environment for communication. The goal is for telecommunicators to share challenges they’re facing openly so issues can be addressed quickly, and with as little stress as possible.
Some PSAPs are implementing policies that promote work-life balance for their emergency dispatchers. This includes providing flexible scheduling options, limiting overtime, and ensuring that staff has adequate time off to recharge and recover.
PSAPs are starting to create quiet rooms in their facilities. These rooms are meant to give emergency telecommunicators a break in a quiet, relaxing space. In some of the rooms, light therapy is used to support the chemical in your brain that lifts your mood.
Many PSAPs are also implementing wellness programs that focus on physical and mental health. These programs include gym memberships, healthy eating initiatives, and stress reduction techniques like yoga and meditation.
In addition to making the NG9-1-1 transition, we are happy to see that PSAPs are taking steps to ensure the health and well-being of their telecommunicators. Our team here at Synergem is also committed to supporting these efforts through our next generation 9-1-1 solutions. As you explore the NG9-1-1 transition, contact one of our experts to help answer any questions and guide you through the process.