National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week Recognizes Michigan's Emergency Telecommunicators

Contact: Ms. Joni Harvey, harveyj6@michigan.gov, 517-284-3025

April 13, 2020

The State 911 Committee (SNC) gives tribute to Michigan telecommunicators and their vital contributions to public safety. In 1991, the United States Congress designated the second week in April, this year April 12-18, 2020, as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.  In Michigan, the State 911 Committee is privileged to honor the men and women who serve in this role to protect the citizens of our Great Lakes State.
 
“While we are working in extraordinary times, it is even more important to recognize the commitment and dedication telecommunicators show every day.  When the world is feeling uncertain about the circumstances and is experiencing confusion and loss on a massive scale, there is still someone there to answer the calls for help,” stated Ms. Joni Harvey, State 911 Administrator.  “Our telecommunicators withstand an enormous amount of stress on a continual basis, yet they display a compassion and empathy that is unwavering, and they continue to find ways to persevere because they truly love and believe in what they do.  We are privileged to have the remarkable telecommunicators we have in Michigan and are indebted to them for their efforts.  Although we are experiencing tough times, we celebrate the role these amazing individuals hold in the public safety family.”
 
In Michigan, 911 centers serve as the primary point for dispatching police, fire, and EMS responses.  In addition to answering and dispatching emergency calls, telecommunicators also provide medical pre-arrival instructions, activate weather alerts, additional incident scene response such as Child Protective Service, hospitals, road commission, utility, and public works department notifications; and handle the call-outs for specialized response teams such as search and rescue, activating medical examiners, and hazmat response teams.  Telecommunicators receive calls through many different 911 dialing systems including wireless, traditional telephones, Voice Over the Internet Protocol, and in some counties, via texts.
 
Mr. Jeff Troyer, Chair of the State 911 Committee, also recognizes the men and women serving as emergency telecommunicators.  “Our 911 telecommunicators are the heartbeat of public safety.  In the midst of an ongoing pandemic and unprecedented times, we are fortunate to have exemplary men and women in our 911 centers throughout the State of Michigan who continue to answer calls for help.  They are selfless and well-trained professionals who deserve commendation.”
 
The State 911 Committee was established in accordance with Public Act 79 of 1999.  It is a 21-member organization that works together to promote the successful development, implementation, and operation of 911 systems across the State of Michigan.
 
Quick Facts about 911 in Michigan:
  • On February 16, 1968, Alabama Speaker of the House, Mr. Rankin Fite, made the first 911 call from the Haleyville City Hall.  
  • Today there are 136 primary Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Michigan.
  • According to the 2019 Annual Report to the Michigan Legislature, of the counties and service districts that reported, the telecommunicators in Michigan answered: 6,647,344 calls to 911, 6,390 texts-to-911, and 7,511,890 calls from non-911 lines.  
  • There are approximately 2,000 telecommunicators in Michigan.
  • In becoming a telecommunicator, individuals first participate in 80 hours of basic and advanced dispatch training within their first 24 months of employment.
  • Michigan designated telecommunicators maintain continuing education requirements by participating in approved courses and accumulating at least 24 continuing education hours every 24 months.
  • The State of Michigan currently has 50 counties converted to an IP-based service covering 38.06% of the population.  Thirty-two more, plus two Wayne County Service Districts, are working through the process.
  • Seventy counties and one Wayne County Service District presently accept Text-to-911 calls which represents 68.76% of the population; the other counties and service districts are working toward accepting Text-to-911.  For a map of current text-to-911 deployments, please visit the SNC website at www.michigan.gov/snc under “Emerging Technology.”