National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 12-18) focuses on the important job our 911 operators do throughout the year. This year it happens to fall during a serious national emergency. Some 911 officials suggest this crisis may permanently change how PSAPs operate by taking on duties they never would have imagined just weeks ago.
Several agencies have published new guidance to support 911 response to COVID-19:
- Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)/Emergency Communications Centers (ECC) Call Screening
- Updated guidance for initial call screening of potential COVID-19 cases. Asking about recent travel is no longer recommended. Healthcare Resilience Task Force.
- 911 and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Algorithms
- Lists step-by-step procedures that should be considered as part of the 911 center's screening process. Healthcare Resilience Task Force.
- Preparing for Pandemic Influenza: Recommendations for Protocol Development for 911 Personnel and Public Safety Answering Points
- Though it specifies influenza, the information is applicable to this pandemic as well. It can be used as a guide to develop better practices for future pandemic emergencies. EMS.gov.
- Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International
- 911-related webinar recordings and a discussion forum for members to share information and advice. APCO International.
The National Emergency Numbers Association released 9-1-1 & COVID-19: A Report on PSAPs During the Pandemic , showing the early impact of COVID-19 on PSAPs and 911. Based on survey results of 500 PSAPs, the report looks at call volume, safety measures for staffing, staff's stress and anxiety, impact on technology and more. The data points are worth considering when adjusting plans for future emergencies and creating opportunities for growth and change as part of the emergency response team.
This article appears in the April 16, 2020 InfoGram . | Subscribe to the InfoGram
Other articles include:
- PPE Preservation Best Practices: reduce, reuse, repurpose
- Letter of guidance, appreciation to emergency managers from FEMA
- Webinar: EMS Patient Care and Operations
- Cybersecurity threat and vulnerability updates