DATE: April 23, 2013
CONTACT: Brett Bayag, Broward County Office of Communications Technology
The Broward County Board of County Commissioners today proclaimed April as 911 Education Month in Broward County, and is undertaking several initiatives to help educate residents and visitors on the use of 911 services, and recognize the important work of local public safety telecommunicators.
911 Education Month is part of a national campaign, 9-1-1: The Number to Know, to encourage public safety officials, schools and government officials to engage in efforts to educate residents on the importance and appropriate use of 911 services.
"Emergencies, as we know, can strike anyone at any time. National 911 Education Month is an appropriate time to recognize the dedication of public safety telecommunicators and reinforce year round education to ensure Broward County's residents and visitors know the proper use of 911," said Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs.
Key messages include:
• Know when to call 911. Call 911 to save a life, stop a crime or report a fire. If you call 911 for non-emergency matters, it can tie up resources that may be needed in a real emergency. Call your local fire or law enforcement non-emergency number for non-emergencies.
• Know your location. Include details, such as landmarks, cross streets and mile markers that will help the dispatcher identify your location and send assistance faster. If you are in an office building, be sure to give your floor and suite number.
• Try to remain calm, answer the dispatcher’s questions and listen to the dispatcher’s instructions. Stay on the line until help arrives or until the dispatcher instructs you to hang up.
• If you misdial 911, stay on the line and explain to the dispatcher that your call was accidental. If you hang up, the dispatcher will try to call you back, and may dispatch an officer if they cannot determine there is no emergency.
• Teach children how to call 911. Make sure they understand that the phone is not a toy, and calling 911 is not a joke.
• Know your phone. If possible, call 911 from a landline. Cell phones are an important public safety tool, but they can create unique challenges for emergency responders. Because your cell phone is not associated with a fixed location or address, your call may not be received by the closest 911 center. It may take additional time to transfer your call.
• Remember, you cannot send a text message to 911.
In conjunction with proclaiming April as 911 Education Month, Broward County commemorated Public Safety Telecommunications Week by honoring three local 911 telecommunicators for their exemplary leadership, distinguished and compassionate service to the residents of Broward County. The annual “Tom Gallagher Memorial Public Safety Award” was established this year, in memory of professional public safety telecommunicator Thomas G. Gallagher, Jr., who grew up in Broward County and dedicated his career to public safety as an emergency dispatcher in Miramar, Plantation, Delray Beach and Pembroke Pines.
Gallagher was the Communications Chief & Public Information Officer for the Pembroke Pines Police and Fire Department until he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on September 28, 2012, after more than 28 years in public service.
Recipients of the first annual Tom Gallagher Memorial Public Safety Award are:
Jill Canary, a public safety telecommunicator for the City of Coconut Creek since 2001. She was recognized for her outstanding level of compassion and concern for others, in both her personal and professional life, her unique understanding of the human experience, and an all-around commitment to community that sets an example for all public safety telecommunicators.
Janice Clark, with the City of Sunrise since 1998. She was recognized for her commitment to quality assurance in telecommunications through education and training. As training supervisor, Clark took the lead in implementing a Department of Health certified Dispatch Academy for Sunrise. The Academy provides 232 hours of training for dispatchers in accordance with state requirements.
Kimberly Kelly, with the Broward Sheriff’s Office since 2004. She was recognized for her exceptional call taking skills and confident and calm manner. On June 21, 2012, Kelly received a 911 call from a 13-year-old girl, who was home alone with her younger brother when burglars attempted to break in to their home. Kelly quickly ascertained the caller’s location and dispatched assistance. She then remained on the line with the young girl, speaking reassuringly to the siblings and encouraging them to remain locked in the bedroom, hiding in the closet until help arrived and the situation was resolved without incident or harm to the children.
For more information about the 911 Public Education Campaign , visit 911.broward.org.