Author: Destanie Ontiveros

Spring Break Safety Tips

Spring Break Safety Tips

Written By: Destanie Ontiveros, NCT9-1-1 Communications Coordinator

It’s Spring Break time here in Texas! Spring break is a wonderful opportunity to relax and decompress whichever way you see fit. Whether you are traveling or staying home this spring break season, the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) would like to share some spring break safety tips to help you stay safe. Some suggestions are to watch the weather, do not overshare on social media, stay aware of your surroundings, and most importantly, know your location.


Everyone knows how unpredictable the weather can be here in Texas. One recommendation to take into consideration is to keep a watchful eye out for the weather. The weather can sometimes make or break your plans. To have a safe and less stressful spring break, it is recommended to plan around the weather. For some traveling out of state, the weather in other locations might be more important. If you are planning to travel outside of Texas this spring break, it is recommended you watch the weather of your destination and the local weather. Nothing slows you down on the road more than getting caught in bad weather, especially when heading out of state.


As much as we all love sharing with friends and family our great spring break plans and updates, it is recommended to not overshare important information like your location and plans on social media. Whether you have your social media accounts set to private or public view, people can still access information you put out on the internet. Because of this, it is recommended to not share your current location or plans on social media.  Instead, consider posting pictures of your spring break after your trip!


Being vigilant of your surroundings is something everyone should be doing at all times. When it comes to being in a new or unfamiliar place, this may seem like an automatic thing to do. Given the circumstances of traveling, being aware of your surroundings is very important, especially if you need to leave suddenly or call 9-1-1.  When traveling, you may be focused on different things, but keep in mind that staying vigilant to your surroundings is important.


Speaking of staying aware of your surroundings, let’s talk about why it is important to know your location this spring break season. In the worst-case scenario, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar or new location and need 9-1-1 assistance, knowing your location will help 9-1-1 better assist you. You can know your location by looking up the physical address, becoming familiar with important landmarks around you, or using the What3Words app. The What3Words app can locate your exact location every 10 by 10 square feet. The What3Words app is a great tool to use in an area that doesn’t necessarily have an address, like a beach or hiking trail. To learn more about What3Words, visit our What3Words blog here.


When it comes to spring break, we all want to have fun and unwind. By keeping keep an eye on the weather, not oversharing important information on social media, staying vigilant of your surroundings, and always knowing your location, you can ensure to enjoy your trip more. NCT9-1-1 hopes these spring break safety tips help you stay safe this spring season and enjoy this well-deserved break!

Highlighting Women in the 9-1-1 Industry within Texas

Highlighting Women in the 9-1-1 Industry within Texas

Written By Destanie Ontiveros, NCT9-1-1 Communications Coordinator


Happy Women’s History Month! In 1980, then-President Jimmy Carter declared March second-eighth as Women’s History Week. After realizing there’s too much women’s history to squeeze into seven days, Congress passed the Public Law 100-9 in 1987, proclaiming March as Women’s History Month. This month has deep importance for women.


The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) reflects on the accomplishments and contributions of women all around the world during this Women’s History Month. NCT9-1-1 would like to spotlight influential women who helped shape the 9-1-1 industry in Texas as we know today: Toni Dunne, Sherry Decker, Laverne Hogan, and Christy Williams.  Women’s History Month is an opportunity to learn, reflect, and celebrate and NCT9-1-1 is honored to have had and continue to work with influential women in the 9-1-1 industry.


Toni Dunne is a certified Emergency Number Professional (ENP) with over 32 years in the public safety industry. Toni’s array of experience includes training and accessibility programs, Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) relations, and government and regulatory affairs. Toni currently serves as a Customer Service Manager for Motorola Solutions where she works with customers and 9-1-1 service providers to transition to the Next Generation platform for 9-1-1. Toni has been recognized by Telecommunications for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Inc. (TDI) as one of the 30 individuals in the United States who have produced the greatest impact on 9-1-1 telecommunicators accessibility. On the 50th Anniversary of 9-1-1, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) recognized Toni in the top 50 individuals in the conceptions and development of 9-1-1. Toni has been instrumental in aiding and developing accessible 9-1-1 to the Deaf & Hard of Hearing community in Texas. Toni’s continuous hard work and dedication to the accessibility of 9-1-1 has made her one of the trailblazing women we’d like to recognize this month.


Sherry Decker, Tarrant County 9-1-1 Director, has been in public safety for over 40 years. Sherry serves as a voice for 9-1-1 telecommunicator with her contributions to Texas Nine one-one Trainers (TNT), Texas Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT), Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), as well as serving on the Texas NENA Board. Sherry co-founded TNT as their leader and facilitator for many years. Sherry also worked on the TERT training curriculum to get the training online through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). With involvement in TCOLE, Sherry represented 9-1-1 to the group that was at the time, made up of Fire, EMS, and Police. Sherry served as the Texas NENA president from 2010-2012. With her efforts and contributions made to 9-1-1 in the state of Texas, she has made a lasting and positive effect on the 9-1-1 industry.


The late Laverne Hogan was the founding director of the Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network. Laverne was a pioneer for 9-1-1 within Texas and was the first Texas NENA president. Laverne’s exceptional management style and supportive people skills allowed her to develop an advanced and nationally recognized 9-1-1 system. Laverne served as a voice to represent the importance of 9-1-1 funding to the Texas senate. Laverne has become an unforgettable leader within the 9-1-1 industry and was a trailblazer for the 9-1-1 industry whose legacy lives on in memory and spirit.


Christy Williams, NCT9-1-1 Director, has been amongst the group of significant people who introduced, implemented, and solidified text to 9-1-1 technology solutions in Texas. With over 30 years in the public safety industry, Christy served as the President for NENA from 2014-2016. Christy chaired the national NENA Public Education Committee through the Operations Committee for seven years and served on the national NENA Educational Advisory Board for 13 years. Christy won the prestigious Laverne Hogan Award in 2011. Christy is an Early Adopter of 9-1-1 technology and operations and co-founded the Early Adopter Summit (EAS). The EAS is held annually and brings together disrupters and innovative industry partners with public safety representatives who are driving the transformation of 9-1-1 and filling the centers with new technologies, operational strategies, and governance. Christy is an early adopter who continues to inspire servant leadership and technological advances in the 9-1-1 industry.


These women have been great examples of success within the 9-1-1 industry and have opened doors and opportunities for others.  By setting precedent examples and opportunities within the 9-1-1 industry, Toni Dunne, Sherry Decker, Laverne Hogan, and Christy Williams are among the many women who deserve a highlight during Women’s History Month.

Press Release: Regional Telecommunicator Academy Graduates Class #014

Press Release: Regional Telecommunicator Academy Graduates Class #014

ARLINGTON, Texas, February 21, 2023 — The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) graduated 17 9-1-1 telecommunicators from its Regional Telecommunicator Academy (RTA) Class #014 on February 17th in Arlington. This class includes recruits from 11 different agencies, including Collin Co SO, Terrell PD, Irving PD, Rockwall Co SO, Ellis Co SO, Wise Co SO, Seagoville PD, Greenville PD, Hutchins PD, North Richland Hills PD, and Mineral Wells PD.


The graduating recruits have completed a rigorous four-week program that teaches equipment use, state mandates and regulations, how to handle emergency communications situations such as active shootings, and more. Texas is the only state in the country that requires its 9-1-1 telecommunicators to be licensed alongside peace officers and jailers, and NCT9-1-1 hosts the only 9-1-1 telecommunicator academy in the state. The district welcomes recruits from outside its region to participate and this year includes participants from Irving PD.


“At the academy, we’re not just training people to fill positions,” said NCT9-1-1 Training Coordinator Bret Batchelor. “We’re building a community of resiliency and comradery with our recruits. I want them to walk away with the skills to not only be successful at their new jobs, but to build a lifelong career as a 9-1-1 telecommunicator and to one day pass on their experiences to the next generation of dispatchers.”


The program has graduated recruits from all over Texas and Arkansas since its inception in February of 2016 and continues to grow with classes held twice a year in the winter and summer.


About the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District

The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) is responsible for 40 plus Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) in the 13 counties surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The district supports these ECCs through maintaining and upgrading 9-1-1 equipment, providing up-to-date mapping information, training 9-1-1 telecommunicators, educating the public on the proper use of 9-1-1, and monitoring ECC functionality and compliances. NCT9-1-1 serves a population of 1.7 million and 10,000+ square miles.

Health and Wellness apps – What they mean to 9-1-1

Health and Wellness apps – What they mean to 9-1-1

Written By: Destanie Ontiveros, NCT9-1-1 Communications Coordinator

As we continue to recover from a world pandemic, it has become apparent of how important our health and wellness is. That being said, let’s talk about how health and wellness apps help connect people to 9-1-1. Companies like Apple and Google who offer health and wellness apps have implemented emergency services into those apps. So, what does this mean for 9-1-1 services? How does this affect 9-1-1 telecommunicators who are answering these emergency calls?


Apple’s in house health app implements 9-1-1 services through Emergency SOS, Fall Detection, and Medical ID. When these applications detect any emergency, the Apple device will call 9-1-1 and automatically send saved medical information to 9-1-1. Google also offers a form of emergency assistance that is integrated into their technology. On Android devices, you can access health information via Google Fit on the lock screen whether the device is locked or not.


As far as emergency services are concerned, the more tangible information, the better. If you need emergency assistance, but are not able to call, talk, or text 9-1-1 your emergency or basic information, the information being automatically provided by these health and wellness apps help serve that purpose. The more information the 9-1-1 telecommunicator knows about the person calling, the better they are able to assist them in their emergency.


In regard to the 9-1-1 telecommunicators, having this information sent automatically saves time, especially when every second counts. As 9-1-1 telecommunicators are navigating between channels of communication and dispatching first responders to the emergency, they are able to cut down the response time.


Technology has come a long way. With new innovative technology, some health and wellness apps allow people to directly contact 9-1-1 without having to call or text 9-1-1. Utilizing these health and wellness apps can help 9-1-1 better assist the 9-1-1 caller. Important health information being shared to 9-1-1 helps both the 9-1-1 caller and 9-1-1 telecommunicators by cutting down response time. As early adopters, NCT9-1-1 looks forward to seeing how technology continues to evolve and aid in 9-1-1 services.