Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Ryan Dedmon, 911 Training Institute
On March 27, 2019, the Massachusetts Communications Supervisors Association (MCSA) hosted their annual training event at the Boxboro Regency Hotel in Boxborough, MA. The MCSA Board invited Jim Marshall to present Survive & Thrive: Core 911 Stress Resilience and PTSD Prevention Training at their event.
MCSA is a professional association that represents all 9-1-1 professionals in Massachusetts. Their membership ranges from front-line dispatchers to directors/managers and leaders serving in the Massachusetts State 911 Department. The association’s mission is to improve the lives of dispatchers throughout the Commonwealth. They hold monthly meetings, annual trainings and other networking events throughout the year.
In February, MCSA President, Chris Campbell, met with Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA, 35th District) during NENA's 911 Goes to Washington event.
“After discussing critical issues surrounding 911, including issues such as PTSD and the potential effects of imagery in 911 centers, MCSA members were invited back to Washington, D.C., by Congresswoman Torres to the official announcement of the 911 SAVES Act,” said Campbell.
The 911 SAVES Act is a federal bill recently introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Torres that seeks to reclassify public-safety telecommunicators to protective services.
“During our trip (to Washington, D.C.), we had the opportunity to have several meetings with congressmen/congresswomen and senators to discuss the industry, update them on trainings we attend, share struggles dispatchers experience like PTSD and stress, and then make the announcement of the 911 SAVES Act with Congresswoman Torres,” said Charles Goodwin, the Vice President of MCSA. “It was a great honor and once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and spend time with those officials.”
The hotel ballroom quickly filled with approximately 130 9-1-1 professionals from all throughout the state. Campbell opened the event with a greeting and urged them to support the 911 SAVES Act, as well as a state bill in Massachusetts that restructures retirement for dispatchers in the Commonwealth, before introducing Jim to present Survive & Thrive.
Survive & Thrive training is a highly interactive experience designed specifically to empower dispatchers to achieve three goals: protect their personal health, improve their quality of life and help them experience more job fulfillment. The room was captivated as Jim explained the natural stress response and then stressors unique to the job of 9-1-1 professionals.
“All dispatchers would agree that working in public-safety emergency communications is stressful” said one anonymous dispatcher attending the training. “However, we do a rather poor job of recognizing the specific signs indicating we feel stressed, but Jim’s training is helping us become more self-aware so we can change our mindsets and reactions to that stress.”
“This is a great day of training. People are loving it and we’re really excited Jim is here. This is such an important class on an important topic and there is not enough education on it. To have Jim here with over 130 telecommunicators from across the Commonwealth attend shows how much people care,” said Goodwin.
Jim shared the following message with the MCSA Board and leadership:
"Thank you all for the enormous privilege of providing Survive & Thrive as your 2019 annual training offering. Your tremendous planning and support through the past several months produced a very successful event today. You have helped dispatchers throughout Massachusetts get equipped to protect their well-being and the future of their comm centers. Congratulations on your great work!"
For more information on MCSA, visit their website: www.ma911.org.
CLICK HERE to watch a short video interview between Charles Goodwin and 911TI Outreach Director, Ryan Dedmon.