April, in most states, represents the first true burst of newness. The showers that bring the May flowers are gaining warmth. Vegetation begins to turn green and new growth occurs. It is said to be a season of new life and optimism. April and May in the United States also represent the months that we set aside to honor our public safety workers in 9-1-1, law, and EMS (fire prevention recognition is the month of October). This April and May will represent 29 years of celebrating 9-1-1, 41 years for law enforcement, and 48 years for EMS.
Historically, National Public Safety Telecommunicators (NPSTW) week was initially started in 1981 as the second week of April. President William Clinton signed the Presidential Proclamation (6667) declaring the week as NPSTW 13 years later. Although there are no specific organizations with planned events or activities for this week, 9-1-1 professionals gather each year in Washington in the late winter/early spring (February 26 – March 1 in 2023) for education about policy challenges facing 9-1-1, receptions for attendees, and scheduled visits to the attendee’s elected and appointed officials on the Hill.
President Gerald Ford authorized EMS week in 1974 to honor the important work EMS provides to the nation’s communities. This year, 2023, the week is May 21 – 27. While EMS does not have an event planned in DC, each day of the week is dedicated to a specific theme and first responders are encouraged to plan activities around the events in their community. Similar to NPSTW, agencies are encouraged to provide awards during the week, provide special food or fun contests, and deliver special gifts as a thank you.
President John F Kennedy signed the Presidential Proclamation proclaiming May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day. In 1982 the day stretched out into a week and has attracted thousands of survivors, law enforcement officers, and supporters to the Capital each year with several planned events honoring those who protect us. National Police week this year is May 15 – 21. There are several events planned at the Capital for the days leading up to it that are anticipated to draw 25,000 – 40,000 people. In addition, law enforcement has a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, which this year was January 9, 2023 and a Law enforcement week, set for June 10 – 18 this year sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Week organization in Branson, MO.
For each branch of the public safety first responders, the staffing crisis continues to be a challenge. Low return on applications, low qualifications on the applicants returned, and the applicant’s perception of how public safety operates versus the reality. Across the country agencies struggle with the current era of the great resignation. Said to be accelerated by the Pandemic, indications were present that indicated a worker shortage was already on the horizon when the world closed down (Anderson, 2021).
While the service industry has options to roll back their hours, public safety must continue providing the care to the citizens and public they serve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More often than not this is accomplished through overtime and/or simply operating understaffed. As the pay for an average fast food worker reaches $21,270/year, many people are opting for “safer” jobs to get by, as opposed to obtaining the education required for public safety positions and working the mandated shifts required in the public safety field.
Annually, 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers average $36,782, law enforcement averages between $38,000 – $47,000, and EMS worker’s average pay is $68,379 a year. At 71% or an estimated 78.9 million, most American workers are employed outside of government jobs. 22.5 million work in government (the dispute regarding private vs. public ambulance service is often met with animosity). A 2017 report from EMS1 shows 56.55% of EMS personnel are employed through the public sector (government agency) while the rest remain in the private sector (Calams, 2017). Although public sector benefits are paid at a higher rate, both public and private are suffering from personnel shortages.
Why point out the obvious? So that you, the reader, knows that we (at Equature) understand what the public safety field is going through. Our mission’s focus is exclusively on public safety and we support each agency, each professional and applaud you for your career decision. We recognize the sacrifices you make. This year, 2023, we encourage each of you to continue to support one another, celebrate your successes, ban together during crises, and recognize your fellow public safety worker during their dedicated week. We appreciate each of you, thank you for your service.
Anderson, J. (2021, October 4). Why is the World Short Staffed? – Stratodesk NoTouch | The Endpoint OS Innovator for EUC. Stratodesk. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.stratodesk.com/why-is-the-world-short-staffed/
Calams, S. (2017, October 23). What are the differences between public and private ambulance services? EMS1. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.ems1.com/private-public-dispute/articles/private-vs-public-ambulance-services-whats-the-difference-WTgJNJgR4KlljlV9/