National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week Recognizes Michigan's Emergency Telecommunicators
March 29, 2021
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 11-17, as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. In Michigan, the SNC is privileged to honor those who serve in this important role in our state.
"This past year has been a remarkable time for 911, and all of the public safety and health services we partner with. The unwavering effort and support our 911 telecommunicators have shown to callers, responders and each other has been overwhelming. When things seem at their worst is when our 911 telecommunicators perform at their best - it is what they do - caring for those who are in need," stated Ms. Joni Harvey, State 911 Administrator. "While the main focus of the last year has been on the pandemic, every day emergencies did not stop, and our telecommunicators continued to respond to calls for a variety of emergencies, large and small. Perseverance and heart are the two best descriptions I can give for our amazing 911 telecommunicators who adapted and overcame obstacles to continue providing the utmost 911 services to everyone in need. Our telecommunicators were a constant resource for comfort and direction in a time of much uncertainty."
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, coordinate 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. He added, "All public safety requests for service start in one of our local 911 centers. The men and women who staff our centers are exemplary and have persevered through the ongoing pandemic to ensure every 911 call is answered. They can experience more stressors and disturbing events in one shift than a normative person experiences in a lifetime. They are well-trained professionals who deserve commendation for the selfless service they provide to residents and visitors."
The SNC was established in accordance with Public Act 79 of 1999. It is a 21-member organization that works to promote the successful development, implementation, and operation of 911 systems across Michigan.
Quick Facts about 911:
- 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 SNC's 2020 Annual Report to the Michigan Legislature, of the counties and service districts that reported, telecommunicators in Michigan answered: 6,469,216 calls to 911; 9,585 texts-to-911; and 7,335,921 calls from non-emergency 911 lines.
- There are approximately 2,100 telecommunicators in Michigan.
- Certified 911 telecommunicators in Michigan must complete at least 80 hours of basic and advanced dispatch training within their first 24 months of employment, and maintain continuing education requirements by participating in approved courses and accumulating at least 24 continuing education hours every 24 months.
- Michigan currently has 50 counties (covering 38.06% of the population) converted to an IP-based service, which allows for more advanced Next-Generation 911 call handling. Thirty-two additional counties, plus two Wayne County Service Districts, are working through the transition process.
- As of December 2020, 77 counties and one Wayne County Service District have deployed text-to-911 calls, representing 76.46% of the population; additional counties and service districts are working toward accepting text-to-911 calls. A map of current text-to-911 deployments can be found at www.michigan.gov/snc under "Emerging Technology."