It’s that time again, APCO 2019 - THE conference for public safety communications professionals! If you’re like most, you’ve probably planned out quite a bit of your trip to Baltimore. If it’s your first time, it has been a while or you’ve been before here are a few tips, tricks and survival hacks to making it a successful conference.
There is no doubt that the duties of being
a 911 dispatcher in the United States are demanding and intense. There are over 240 million calls made to 911 each year, and each one of those callers needs the person on the other end of the line to be calm, collected, and efficient.
Poor ergonomics can have serious health consequences. But what constitute poor ergonomics? Most of us are probably doing something right this moment that could be causing harm to our bodies. Let's take a look at some common ergonomic issues, how they might be impacting our health and some best practices you can start implementing right now:
If you're getting ready to purchase Dispatch Console Furniture, you will want to know that you are getting the best value or return on your investment (ROI). This is critical information for your your team and your taxpayers. Here is a quick guide on what to look for to make sure you are getting the most ROI for your dispatch consoles.
Purchasing dispatch furniture is not an easy task, which is probably why it only happens every 10-15 years. There are a lot of steps and parties involved, from radio vendors to flooring teams, it’s not exactly like trip to IKEA!
When you’re about to request your purchase order, it’s tempting to let your foot off the gas pedal because it feels like you’ve done all the hard stuff. Many Comm Center Managers will agree, you’re only just getting your engines started.
People often come to us when they aren’t sure how long it will take to get new dispatch furniture. Having a timeline and knowing approximate dates can help make the process smooth from beginning to end. Having a timeline can also help to eliminate the guessing game of when to start looking for furniture and/or when to start asking your county for money or possibly preparing your agency’s budget for the next fiscal year.
Another great way a timeline can eliminate the stresses of getting new dispatch furniture is to help you work backwards. Let’s say your project HAS to be completed by a certain date. With a timeline in place, you can let your purchasing department know that if they drag their feet on things like a PO, then it's possible the whole project could be delayed. Or maybe you are planning to go “live” in your new building on a specific date, this would mean that you'd need to have a signed PO by a minimum 10 weeks prior to "go live" date.
Whenever you go on a first date, it can seem awkward to talk about long term goals, plans, or babies...? In a similar fashion, when you meet with your dispatch furniture vendor for the first time and they start asking you questions about elevators and trailers, it might seem like they’re jumping the gun. You might be thinking, “Whoa there, cowboy! I just want to get a drawing!” You were probably prepared to answer all the standard questions like: “How many positions? What is your preferred configuration? How will your equipment change? What’s the budget?”
So what about the nitty-gritty stuff and why does it even matter?
Tips from an expert
- It’s going to be a long day. No matter how you dice it. The days you are in Vegas are going to be looooong. Be prepared. Bring some waters and some snacks. No one likes a hangry person. Not to mention, usually the nearest place for food is a good ½ mile away.
- The expo hall is big! And it's going to be far away from your hotel room, even if you are staying at the host hotel, so bring comfy shoes, bring a couple pairs. Swap out your shoes. If you ever see me coming or going from a APCO, NENA or Navigator, I usually have on sneakers or flip-flops, that way I can easily change into my work shoes when I arrive. (If you’re from somewhere where there is snow, this is a common practice as an elementary aged child. You’d wear your snow boots to school and change into your sneakers for the day and then back into your boots for recess and going home. Same concept here.)
The way we buy...well just about anything, has changed. With websites offering quick service and simple shopping like Amazon, grocery delivery services like “Click-List” and of course there is Uber, there is no wonder why we've changed. We have all changed how we shop, buy and research products. Hello instant gratification! But what about those big purchases, a new car, a home or a vacation? Well, that part hasn’t changed much and neither has shopping for dispatch furniture.
When is the right time to start thinking about getting dispatch furniture proposals? The short and simple answer to this question is, that it all depends. Every state (really every Comm center) has a unique purchasing system that usually drives the speed at which you can get new dispatch consoles. Workstations are typically replaced once every 10–15 years. If you are in charge of getting the new workstations, it might be the first and last time you buy furniture with your agency. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry; most people aren’t too experienced at buying dispatch furniture.