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Celebrating 9-1-1 telecommunicators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Celebrating 9-1-1 telecommunicators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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

Every year, the second week of April is recognized as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW). This week is designated to celebrate and honor those who dedicate their lives to serving the public in 9-1-1. 9-1-1 telecommunicators act as the first line of communication between citizens and the officers, fire personnel, or paramedics who respond. To show your appreciation this week, you can write thank you cards to 9-1-1, donate food and goods if you have a business, or give a shout out to local 9-1-1 telecommunicators on your social media platforms.

A great way to show your appreciation is by writing a thank you note! A handwritten note thanking your local 9-1-1 telecommunicators is a great gesture of appreciation and celebration. If you have kids at home or in school, this idea will definitely spark their creative side! A handwritten thank you note can be a creative and fun way to express your appreciation during NPSTW! Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) operate as a family, and every family loves a handmade token of appreciation.

Another way to celebrate your local 9-1-1 ECC is to donate food or goods, if you can! Donating baked goods is a great way to show your appreciation to anyone. Considering 9-1-1 telecommunicators work long shifts, they are more than happy to receive gifts that provide them energy to keep going. At the end of the day, everyone loves something a little sweet!

The easiest way to highlight or honor 9-1-1 telecommunicators is to post about them on your social media. This is a free way to honor and celebrate the hard work 9-1-1 telecommunicators do every day. Using your social media accounts to highlight your local 9-1-1 ECC is a great way to spread appreciation and awareness of the work 9-1-1 telecommunicators do. If you decide to shout out your local 9-1-1 ECC, remember to tag them! Everyone loves receiving a job well done post, especially if it’s coming from the community they serve.

Recognizing the heroes behind the headset is something NCT9-1-1 does regularly. It is important we recognize, honor, and celebrate these amazing first responders. We hope these tips give you some ideas on how to celebrate your 9-1-1 ECC and all the hard work your local 9-1-1 telecommunicators do.

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.

NCT9-1-1: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

NCT9-1-1: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Written by Christy Williams, Director of 9-1-1.

I love reading a book, listening to a podcast, watching a movie, hearing a presentation or even participating in a conversation that engages my thought process.  The best movies ever are the ones I can talk about for hours even days later with my friends and family.  The best conferences I attend are the ones that inspire thought and creativity in me.  Most of the time these moments are achieved through a hallway conversation or a training on something not relevant to my work at all. . . but they get me thinking.  What if we could apply that technology to 9-1-1 to make it better?  What if we could modify that idea to solve one of our problems.  What if someone else’s idea or project could be expanded to do something great in our industry or in our ECCs?  What if. . . .


I have been to numerous training sessions on innovation and change.  I was often discouraged that I was not a true innovator by definition because I have seldom implemented something that was uniquely and  totally MY idea.  I thrive on learning and interacting with others because they give me ideas based on their own.  Those innovators before me started with nothing and came up with solutions, inventions and techniques.  I was simply the person who thought “what if”, modified their idea to fit our needs and problems and then planned and executed the project with brilliant people who improved on my vision and made a project a success.  I decided I was not an innovator but simply an early adopter.  This is the term you will hear me use when describing myself and my organization.


An innovator by definition is a person or group that introduces something new or does something for the first time.  However, innovators are also described as pioneers who always push the boundaries and follow a vision.  Jean-Luc Godard was a French filmmaker who was best known for the way he challenged Hollywood.  He said, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”  NCT9-1-1 has a history of building upon prior work, changing or improving on it and using the results to take the work in a new direction that benefits 9-1-1 service.


My team has a love/hate feeling every time I leave the office for training, seminars, conferences or collaboration events because I come back with this long list of things I think we could/should do.  Sometimes they catch the vision and run with it, but other times they think “what this time?”.   I enjoy researching what the innovators have done, what worked and what didn’t.  But I can’t stop there.  I want us to improve upon it and refine the idea to fit our needs and improve 9-1-1 service in our region and around the world.  I like to throw out the vision and listen to people poke holes in it; not stopping there but asking them how it could be done and listening to the creativity, intelligence and expertise in the room.  Our team inspires me!  They make it easy to play the role of an innovator by creating an environment where employees are given the tools and resources to challenge the status quo, push boundaries and achieve growth.


I acknowledge most of the ideas we work on come from something we have seen or heard of somewhere else.  I want to thank those who have come before us and given us a starting point where lessons have already been learned and possibilities have been explored.  I applaud the good work of these innovators who have created something that can be morphed into other things that will solve problem, save lives and make a difference.  We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants!