It was twelve years into my career before I learned about organizations that support work done in a PSAP and those individuals serving in the Telecommunicator career. Up until that point, I had no idea about the wealth of knowledge, support, training, and backing available. I discovered twelve years after that as I took a new position at a PSAP, that the knowledge of these organizations was still not widely known. This article is not intended to provide the reader with in-depth information, but to provide an overview of state and national organizations available that support 9-1-1.
The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) offers a wide variety of best practices, training, programs, certification programs, and general assistance for PSAP personnel. NENA’s Mission & Vision reflects on empowering the members and 9-1-1 community through “standards development, training, thought leadership, outreach, and advocacy”. NENA is the only non-profit organization solely focused on improving 9-1-1. Under NENA, you can find the Telecommunicators Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) initiative along with a variety of programs and education opportunities.
NENA also has the Emergency Number Professional (ENP) certification program that positively impacts many 9-1-1 professionals. There are many ways to be involved in the work groups with NENA. Check out their information at: www.nena.org. Most states have a state level NENA association as well. A Google search of your state and NENA will usually take you to their site. Many states have a joint relationship with APCO (below). They may have annual conferences and chapter meetings together.
The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO). APCO is the world’s oldest organization of public safety communications professionals. Their mission is to provide a “complete public safety communications expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach to benefit the members and public”. APCO provides training, advocacy, technology, standards, and radio frequency management for public safety. Under APCO you can also find the link to the TERT program, staffing & retention resources, and a variety of training and services to help you build a solid career.
There are multiple ways to become involved with APCO as well. You can find more information on them at www.apcointl.org. As mentioned, most states have a state level APCO organization that may or may not be in partnership with the state NENA organization. Even if this partnership is present at the state level, to be a member of both organizations requires membership to both separately.
National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) – NEMSAC is a nationally recognized council of EMS representatives and consumers created to provide advice and recommendations regarding EMS to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NEMSAC holds a position on the council specifically for a 9-1-1 representative. NEMSAC activities are based around the betterment of EMS and takes into careful account the partnership and impact EMS has with 9-1-1.
The council holds public meetings three to four times per year with committee meetings occurring each month. NEMSAC provides a forum for the development, consideration, and communication of information from a knowledge based and independent perspective. You can find the link for more information at www.ems.gov/nemsac
National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) is the voice of each state (with a 911 Administrator or contact) on public policy issues impacting 911. NASNA can address complex issues surrounding the evolution of emergency communications by developing partnerships with key organizations and individuals and serve as a focal point for information sharing and network for state 911 program administrations. NASNA also works closely with federal lawmakers and agencies to strengthen the relationships. Researching the issues, they address as well as the tools and information they provide can be found on www.nasna911.org
National 911 program / 911.gov provides federal leadership and coordination in supporting and promoting the optimal 911 services. 911.gov is the National 911 Program and provides information on important issues in 911 as well as 911 system resources. They have a variety of current projects in progress and were instrumental in pushing out information during the 2020/2021 pandemic. 911.gov is an important resource to hold on to, additional information can be located at www.911.gov.
At Equature, we believe in supporting those organizations who support our 9-1-1 industry and all public safety professionals. We are proud to be able to provide training, technology services, and real-time tools to interact with our customers. We hold active memberships in NENA, APCO, NEMSAC, and have certified Emergency Number Professionals (ENP) on staff. Please feel free to contact us at www.equature.com