In 2008, Congress passed a resolution making April 9-1-1 Education Month, setting aside this time to recognize 911 telecommunicators, highlight the essential service 9-1-1 offers us, and educate the public about 911 services.
911 has come a long way in the past 51 years. It took decades for jurisdictions across the country to adopt 911; now we can hardly imagine life without this service. And instead of just transferring calls through a switchboard, now dispatchers go through extensive training and offer help and emergency instructions over the phone.
In fact, just last month a bill was introduced into Congress aiming to recategorize telecommunicators and dispatchers as a "protective service occupation" in the Standard Occupation Classification System. They are currently classified as “administrative/clerical,” which many consider an oversight considering the specialized work they do every day.
April is set aside for 911 education, but in reality public education is non-stop. There are many resources available to help you keep the topic fresh in your communities:
- The National Emergency Numbers Association offers logo packages, a variety of public service announcements for different media, templates for proclamations and more.
- The National Association of State 911 Administrators' Know911.org page offers a toolkit, sample news releases, online web banners and graphics, and more.
- The National Public Safety Teleworkers Week website features pictures of 911 teams and stories from around the country. Be sure to check them out and submit your own!