Before the police, firefighters, or paramedics arrive, Public Safety Communications’ emergency communications officers (ECOs) are there. Each year they evaluate and dispatch required resources for nearly one million 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls for the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and Alberta Health Services. As the ‘first’ of the first responders, these ECOs serve as the critical link between citizens and the emergency help they require.
In honour of the important work these individuals do and in celebration of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, Mayor Naheed Nenshi has proclaimed April 14-20 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week in The City of Calgary.
“Every Calgarian depends heavily on the services provided by Public Safety Communications,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Just like the police officers, firefighters and paramedics, they can and do make the difference between life and death, every single hour of every single day.”
|EOC Rob Vanderkley, with his Telecommunicator of the Year Award, 2012.|
While honoured, Rob said receiving the award in front of his peers was a humbling experience.
“It was hard to accept an award that says you are the very best at something in all of Canada, when you know that you sit alongside 40 or 50 people everyday who are doing the same thing as you are,” said Rob. “I really truly think it was a group award – they gave it to me, but I think that everybody out there would be able to do something similar and they have in the past.”
He adds that he takes great pride in working as an ECO, as it allows him to provide help to citizens when they need it most.
“Someone who is calling 9-1-1 is probably having one of the worst days of their life. I want to look back at a career and say, ‘I really helped’ - not just one person, one time, but hundreds of people, hundreds of times.”