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Candidate Standard for Core Competencies and Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Communications Technician

Public review and comment period: October 29 – December 13, 2021.

This is a revision of the standard identifying the core competencies and minimum training requirements for Public Safety Communications Technicians, sometimes referred to as Technician or Specialist. This position is typically tasked with planning, monitoring, maintaining, managing and/or installing technology systems, including radio systems, computer aid dispatch (CAD) systems, geographic information systems (GIS), and associated equipment, to ensure continuity of mission critical operation

Crisis Intervention Techniques & Call Handling Procedures for PST

Public Safety Telecommunicators (PSTs) are typically the first layer of response to crisis-based calls and can serve as the initial layer of de-escalation attempts. PST’s must manage a wide range of emergency calls, often involving a variety of behavioral health disorders and conditions. Throughout Emergency Communications Centers there is a demand for skills associated with handling such calls in an appropriate, calming, and professional manner. To reflect the requests and needs for such improvement, APCO has published this standard, which provides a fundamental tool for PSTs. In practice, this standard is written to provide fundamental strategies and responsibilities for the agency, a brief understanding of behavioral health, PST responsibilities, and stress management for the PST. This standard provides procedures and techniques for improved responses for PSTs while handling a call involving a person in crisis.

Public Safety Telecommunicator Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Program

Over the past generation, our industry has seen myriad changes in the way it operates, is structured, and the way personnel are trained. We have evolved out of necessity to keep pace with our technology driven world as our informational highways and capabilities become larger and faster. This constant evolution has placed new and unforeseen stressors of many natures on our public safety telecommunications personnel, and will continue to do so especially with the advent of visual technology arriving at 9-1-1 consoles in real time every day. These changes, along with the critical need of ensuring the mental health and well-being of all our PST personnel, are the touchstone for the creation of this standard.

It is inherent in the document that from agency to agency there may be nuanced differences impacted by State, County, or Local Laws as well as agency specific policies and procedures. Those differences notwithstanding, from a conceptual standpoint the information contained within the document should give any end-user public safety agency a well-defined blueprint for establishing the critical operational need in protecting the overall mental, physical and emotional well-being of our Public Safety Telecommunicators.

Minimum Training Standard for TTY/TDD Use in the Public Safety Communications Center

This standard addresses the minimum training requirements, in general, necessary to foster levels of consistency for all personnel in an emergency communications environment assigned to answering TTY/TDD calls for service specifically in the public safety environment. This standard responds to the valid needs of the rapidly expanding and ever-changing industry, providing competent training standards while defining training in certain knowledge, skills, and abilities, and recognizing the need to supplement basic competencies with agency-specific information and existing equipment-use parameters.

Cybersecurity Training for Public Safety Communications Personnel

This cybersecurity training standard addresses training for ECC staff, including public safety telecommunicators (PSTs), supervisors, ECC management and ECC administration. It also addresses training for personnel who are not in professional technical positions, but who are privileged users with administrative privileges allowing them to handle some technical tasks such as application installation, operating system updates, application administration, database management or system administration.

Core Competencies and Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Communications Manager/Director

This standard identifies the core competencies and minimum training requirements for the Public Safety Communications Manager/Director. This position is typically tasked with managing and directing all aspects of a public safety communications center, while effectively utilizing leadership skills, resources, and partnerships in order to successfully provide emergency communications service.

Core Competencies and Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Communications Quality Assurance Evaluators (QAE)

This standard identifies the core competencies and minimum training requirements for Quality Assurance Evaluators (QAE). The QAE administers the Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) process by providing compliance oversight, reviewing, and documenting an evaluation of the level of compliance with agency directives and standards in an ongoing effort to ensure the highest levels of service to the public and emergency responders.

Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Telecommunicators©

The standard identifies minimum training requirements for public safety call takers, fire service dispatchers, law enforcement dispatchers, and emergency medical services (EMS) dispatchers. It is one of many public safety communications training standards that has been developed as a result of APCO’s Project 33® initiated in 1995. This standard is based on research compiled from multiple occupational analysis workshops conducted throughout the nation. Over 100 high-performing public safety telecommunicators representing various agencies participated in these workshops. The draft standard was submitted through three different public review and comment periods before the final draft was completed.

Also read Implementation Guide for APCO ANS Recommended Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Telecommunicators

Core Competencies and Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Communications Supervisor

This standard identifies the core competencies and minimum training requirements for Public Safety Communications Supervisors. This position is typically tasked with managing daily operations, performing administrative duties and maintaining employee relations. This position provides leadership and guidance to employees in order to achieve the agency’s mission, while providing service to the public and emergency responders.

Alarm Monitoring Company to Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Automated Secure Alarm Protocol

The Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) is a successfully proven data exchange that has demonstrated efficiency and effectiveness in streamlining alarm notifications between alarm monitoring companies and public safety Emergency Communications Centers since 2009. This standard is the product resulting from the joint effort by APCO and The Monitoring Association (TMA) formerly known as the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA).

Updates include the renaming the introduction of schema version 3.4 including new data fields and message types available to the users of this standard and critical to the mission of public safety. An emphasis on address verification/synchronization between the alarm companies and the ECCs is included. New alarm event types are also introduced as well as methods to indicate that an alarm has been verified positively as a real-life crime, fire, or emergency medical event.

Minimum Operational Standards for the Use ofTTY/TDD or Similar Device in the Public Safety Communications Center

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation requires 9-1-1 and other telephone emergency service providers to provide TTY/TDD users with direct access and an opportunity to benefit from the emergency services that is equal to the opportunity afforded to others. Many of the citizens that are protected by ADA communicate via texting and expect to do the same with a PSCC or PSAP. State and local agencies are being legally directed to identify methods to accept these text messages and must keep up with the citizen’s expectations.

Responding to Calls of Missing, Abducted and Sexually Exploited Children

This standard is a reference designed for public safety telecommunications personnel. The standard attempts to present the missing, abducted and/or sexually exploited child response process in a logical progression from the first response (initial call intake and information entry) through ongoing incident and case support (data query, entry and management in support of field/investigative work).

Public Safety Grade Site Hardening Requirements

This standard is a comprehensive analysis of site hardening requirements, with the specific future intention to establish “hardening” standards, which create public safety grade sites. The requirements in this document have been developed by a subcommittee of the APCO Broadband Committee representing government communications system operators, communications systems vendors, representatives from commercial service provider LMR professionals, and broadband industry consultants.

NG9-1-1 Emergency Incident Data Document (EIDD)

The EIDD provides a standardized, industry-neutral National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) conformant (XML-based) specifications for exchanging emergency incident information to agencies and regions that implement NG9-1-1 and Internet Protocol (IP) based emergency communications systems. Emergency incident information exchanges supported by the EIDD include exchanges between disparate manufacturers’ systems located within one or more public safety agencies and with other incident stakeholders.

Download the EIDD IEPD (zip file), a NIEM-conformant package that describes the construction and content of the EIDD information exchange. It contains all of the schemas necessary to represent and validate the data content of the exchange. It also contains supplemental artifacts, such as documentation, business rules, search and discovery metadata, and sample instances.

Common Incident Types for Data Exchange

This standard focuses on providing a standardized list of Common Incident Type Codes to facilitate effective incident exchange between Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) ECCs and other authorized agencies, which is a critical component of public safety interoperability. If an agency is receiving information about an incident, a basic level of incident classification will be required to assure they understand the type of situation. Rather than requiring an agency to change the codes they use internally, each agency should map their internal codes to the standardized list.

Public Safety Communications Center Key Performance Indicators

The goal of this standard is to provide fundamental key performance indicators (KPIs) inherent in all ECC work, regardless of size, services, or location. It also provides a list of conditions that allow agencies to further refine performance analysis and management, if applicable to its needs. The standard approaches this topic by designating mandatory KPIs applicable to all ECC environments; documenting conditional measures that allow for more detailed root-cause analysis; and identifying data elements necessary to complete the KPI.

PSC Common Status Codes for Data Exchange

This standard provides a standardized list of status codes that can be used by emergency communications and public safety stakeholders when sharing incident related information. Rather than changing their codes internally, each agency should map their internal codes to the standardized list. The agency is responsible for identifying how to map or translate their agency-specific status codes to the common status codes to ensure a clear understanding of the data that is being passed.

Best Practices for ECCs When Processing Vehicle Telematics Calls from Telematics Service Providers

Telematics data provides an opportunity for public safety agencies to dispatch more efficiently, based on crash notification elements and specific crash data. Law enforcement agencies, working in correlation with telematics call centers, are able to work together to assist in the location of missing people, recovery of stolen vehicles and vehicle slow down to stop vehicles involved in criminal activity. In emergency situations, effective communication between the telematics call center and the local ECC is critical.

Standards Review & Comment

APCO’s standards development process allows anyone to participate and uses due process through consensus-based, open and balanced procedures. Each draft candidate standard is open for public review and comment for a 45-day period. Any person (e.g., organization, company, government agency, individual, etc.) with a direct and material interest has a right to participate by:

  • Expressing a position and its basis
  • Having that position considered
  • Having the right to appeal

All comments will be addressed by the standards working group.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or need for specific standards, please submit them for APCO’s review to [email protected] or call the Standards Program Manager at (469) 424-7599.