The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is recognizing the vital work of 911 telecommunicators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 9 – 15.
“Public safety telecommunicators carry out their tasks under very stressful conditions, and are the critical link between those who need emergency services and first responders,” said PEMA 911 Deputy Jeff Boyle. “It is demanding but rewarding work and we’re proud to recognize the diligence and compassion they bring to their profession every single day.”
Like many emergency response and public safety organizations, county Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) are struggling to meet staffing needs. There are currently more than 500 vacant full-time positions available across the state.
“The increase in call volume adds to the operational strain facing many PSAPs, particularly when combined with a shortfall in staffing levels and it makes recruitment and retention a significant challenge in many counties,” Boyle said.
After completing the basic training, a county PSAP can certify a telecommunicator as long as they meet the following additional criteria:
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Possess a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED);
- Be free of a criminal history that would prohibit them from successfully fulfilling all duties of the position as defined by the employer; and
- Meet any additional employer-specific qualifications to be hired as a telecommunicator (e.g., pre-employment testing).
Anyone interested in learning more can check the employment sections of county websites found in the PEMA PSAP Directory.