9-1-1; What Is Your Emergency?

Friday, May 9, 2014

9-1-1: Making a Difference

Taken from Public Safety Communications Magazine, August 2010, APCO Bulletin > Association News & Notes > Standards

The public safety communications community makes a difference every day.  We answer calls from people who need assistance, and we give support and provide information to protect the responders providing that help.  9-1-1 makes a difference every hour of every day.  Public safety communications professionals, at all levels and assignments, follow procedures on a daily basis to perform our duties.  How are those procedures developed?  They are developed by individuals, like you, who perform the duties or have knowledge and experience in the community.  One method is to develop consensus standards, but to get consensus standards, a balanced group of people need to provide that consensus.

APCO Standards Committee:  APCO has taken a lead in the public safety communications community by becoming an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-Accredited Standards Developer (ASD).  The APCO Standards Development Committee's (SDC) scope is: APCO International will serve as a conduit to develop standards that will focus on public safety communications, including, but not limited to, training and professional development, professional qualifications, education, performance programs, technology, systems, operations and other related issues.

The SDC has three subcommittees that focus on specific areas:
  • Training, which develops training and competencies standards;
  • Operations, which develops operational standards; and
  • Technical, which develops technical and equipment standards.
The SDC and its subcommittees have three member categories:
  • Producer (i.e., a producer of public safety communications equipment, products, processes, systems or services);
  • User (i.e., those who use public safety communications equipment, products, processes, systems or services); and
  • General interest (i.e., all others, including, but not limited to, professional associations and societies and regulatory agencies).
What can you do?  Participate; join a committee.  One great way to get involved is to help develop and approve standards.  The SDC is currently expanding and looking for members to help facilitate important standards for the public safety communications community.  A diverse knowledge base and individual experience benefits standards by addressing the needs of and providing insight from all stakeholders.  Your input in developing and reviewing candidate standards can prove invaluable regardless of your background.  This participation allows you to be proactive.  Not only will you understand what standards are being developed, but you will have input into the changes in the industry.

To participate in APCO Standards activities, go to www.apcostandards.org or e-mail standards@apcointl.org for more information.  Members are selected from applications based on the positions open and the applicant's background to ensure balance and lack of dominance.  There are opportunities to join SDC committees and provide subject matter expertise.

Call to action: If you can't join the committee, you can still participate.  As new standards are prepared, the candidates are announced in a Call to Action.  These are for proposals for APCO standards and standards from other organizations that may affect the public safety community.  When these notices are published, look into the standards that affect you and provide feedback.  This feedback can be potential changes or a different way to accomplish the same actions.  It can be as simple as a comment that the proposed standard is a good solution to its issue.

Learn, act and connect with your leaders.  We need your help to develop and approve standards that enhance public safety communications.

~ QUESTIONS? E-mail standards@apcointl.org.

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