Podcast

"WHATEVER YOU PUT INTO IT, IS A DIRECT RESULT OF WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO GET OUT OF IT." A CHAT WITH TY WOOTEN, ENP.

If anyone can train 18,000 people in 18 months, it’s Ty Wooten, ENP and Director of Education at the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).  While he wasn’t working at NENA at the time, he was training public safety officials. Ty’s 27 years in 9-1-1 have varied from working as a Communications Officer at Hancock County Sheriff’s Department to Emergency Communications Manager at Indianapolis International Airport, and everything in between.  He founded a tactical dispatch team and many other industry standards that are in place today.

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • The benefits of tactical dispatch teams.
  • Indiana Box Company’s seven-alarm fire in Indianapolis.
  • The importance of involvement in 9-1-1.
  • The value of industry standards and best practices. 
  • Numbers other countries use for emergencies.
  • How Europe handles incoming 9-1-1 calls. 
  • Ty’s vision for 9-1-1. 

Ty references:

GOOGLE ISN'T ALWAYS ACCURATE AND WE DO A LOT MORE THAN JUST MAKE PRETTY MAPS. A CHAT WITH JUSTIN ANNAN.

Have you ever come across an error in a project and felt overwhelmed? Now imagine finding 60,000 errors in that project!  Where would you begin? Justin Annan is the GIS Analyst and MSAG and Street Naming Coordinator at the Authority.  Justin served in the Marine Corps in field artillery and deployed to Iraq.  He also studied Journalism at UCCS before switching to Geographic Information Systems. Hear how this former marine conquered a very large project and more in this episode! 

This episode breaks down and defines:

  • GIS.  What is it?  According to Justin, Geographic Information Systems (or GIS) is the process of gathering, managing, and analyzing spatial data to tie it to locations and symbolize it in different ways.
  • Site points.  Our two-county region has over 300,000 of them along with 50,000 road segments. But what is a site point? What’s a building footprint? How does GIS pull all of this information together?
  • Road centerline data. The road centerline data includes attributes like the speed limit, traffic direction, address ranges, the community, county, and more.
  • Plat maps.  You can also learn more about plat maps and other GIS legal descriptions on the Assessor's webpage.
  • The street naming process. Discover that MSAG stands for Master Street Address Guide which includes all of the different road segments and address points for our region.  While it's not a spatial data set or connected to our 9-1-1 data, it must synchronize with both types of data.

You will also hear about the updating process and how it's changed to a more simplified, streamlined process. As well as his upcoming project road naming convention project. Creating alias names for roads to make them easier to find for call takers/dispatchers and other responders.

Justin recommends:

make a list and check it to reduce stress. a chat with jenna kester.

Curious to know who was the first person to get the Emergency Number Professional certification in Colorado Springs? Well, look no further than our own quality assurance analyst, Jenna Kester! Prior to joining the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority team, Jenna was an emergency response technician and dispatcher at Colorado Springs Police Department for 13 years. She also holds her CMCP.  

In this episode, you will hear about:

  • Changes in dispatch protocols over the years.
  • The reasoning behind the protocols we use.
  • The accreditation process.
  • Her tips for new call takers and dispatchers.

Jenna recommends:

  • Making lists.  She is a professional list-maker and uses them to help reduce stress and stay organized.
  • Everything by Brené Brown along with many other self-help and self-love books.
  • Powtoon and Canva to make engaging CDEs.

TRY TO FIND A MIDDLE GROUND THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE. DAN AUSEC DISCUSSES THE CENTRALIZATION OF CAD.

Dan Ausec had no idea that wildland firefighting would lift him from a career in health and exercise science, to working with numerous agencies to centralize a computer-aided dispatch system (CAD).  If you don't know who Dan Ausec is, this episode will introduce you to the CAD and GIS manager at the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority.  Dan has worked as a wildland firefighter, emergency services dispatcher, trainer, supervisor, tactical dispatcher, and CAD administrator.  Dan constantly focuses on the next phase of development and improvement. 

In this episode Dan shares:

  • The centralization of CAD.
  • The importance of project management.
  • Recent advancements in CAD.
  • Recent changes in mapping systems.

Some links and references:

  • Dan shares a new way of providing location by using the app, What Three Words.
  • He encourages listeners to read, It's Your Ship.
  • Dan also recommends the book, The Giver.
  • Dan has recently taken up golf as a way to reduce stress.  He recommends listeners check out World Golf's three-wheel golf carts.

FROM THE BACK OF AN AMBULANCE TO THE DISPATCH FLOOR. A CHAT WITH ARDELLE GRIMA.

Want to know what it takes to become a quality assurance analyst? Meet Ardelle Grima!  She has years of experience as an EMT, emergency services dispatcher, and quality assurance analyst. Ardelle shares what led her to quality assurance and what it takes to be a quality assurance analyst. 

Be prepared to hear some laughs and learn about:

  • How the call scoring process works
  • Some tips to improve compliance scores
  • The heaviest weighted questions and things to avoid when using emergency dispatch protocols
  • Ways to redirect difficult callers
  • Tips for using ProQA

In this episode Ardelle references

  • Advanced Quality Assurance (AQA) AQUA?
  • Pre-Dispatch Instructions (PDIs)
  • Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs)
  • For a mobile field responder guides for determinant codes click here
  • Learn more about determinant codes
  • The Scarpeta Series by Patricia Cornwell

MAKE TRAINING YOUR WORK HOBBY. A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LOFGREN.

Do you stress over certain calls?  Are you worried about compliance scores? John Lofgren may have a few solutions for you. John has incorporated his experience as a firefighter, police officer, dispatcher, and supervisor to enhance how he coaches both his team and other agencies.  As a certified instructor with the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch and Training Manager at the Authority, John shares some of his knowledge and tips in quality assurance and training.

In this episode, John discusses:

  • The shift from quality improvement to training.
  • Ways to prepare for certain calls.
  • How calls are reviewed during the quality assurance process.
  • How to build team cohesion and consistency.

John references:

Jessica Flohrs is the Communications Center Manager at Teller County Sheriff's Office and has years of experience as a dispatcher, trainer, supervisor, and quality assurance analyst. Jessica holds a Communications Center Manager Certification through the National Emergency Number Association along with many other certifications.

If you have ever experienced overload, this is a great episode for you. Jessica reminds us that our brains are always capable of learning and re-learning if we allow ourselves time to train and grow.  She's had to re-train herself through working at different agencies and training others.  She also reminds us that, "They're just people" and we are all human.

During this episode of the podcast, you will hear about:

  • Some of Jessica's defining moments and why she has stayed in this career.
  • Her approach to leadership and training.
  • Tips on how to transition into a new role and different agency.
  • Recent technology changes in her center.
  • A surprising fact about 9-1-1 service.

Jessica references:

Eric Johnson is a shift supervisor at the Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center and holds his CMCP.  He has "been in the business" for 26 years and has worked for multiple agencies as an emergency response technician, public safety dispatcher, quality assurance specialist, trainer, and supervisor.  Eric reminds us that it's important to be introspective and find compromise when training different learning styles.  Not only will you hear about changes he's seen in technology, training, and processes but you'll also get some tips on transitioning into different roles and ways to strengthen your position and career.  Eric discusses the importance of:

  • Adapting to different learning and communication styles.
  • Establishing standards and thresholds in management.
  • Creating timetables and routines.
  • Leveraging technology to assist in tasks and projects.
  • Seeking ways to grow in this field.

In this episode Eric references:

  • The Retro Video Store podcast, which is available on all major podcast services.
  • The City of Colorado Springs.  If you're interested in working for them, you can visit coloradosprings.gov for more info

FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC REWARDS AS A MANAGER.  A CHAT WITH RENEE HENSHAW.

Want to know what it takes to run an accredited communications center that uses three different types of emergency dispatch protocols? Renee Henshaw, Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center Manager may have some answers for you.  Renee has a Bachelor's in Sociology and a minor in Criminology from California State University Sacramento.  This non-practicing paralegal has worked in a variety of positions both inside and outside of a communications center.  Within a communication center, she's been an emergency response technician, public safety dispatcher, training coordinator, and supervisor.  Renee has also attended the Center for Creative Leadership. 

In this episode, Renee discusses:

  • The evolution of call answering and dispatch processes.
  • Changes in the tracking of information and data collection.
  • Changes in technology and 9-1-1 systems.
  • Ways to achieve longevity in the profession.
  • Takeaways from working in a variety of positions.
  • Interesting facts about her agency's communications center.
  • Things she has done to improve employee health, work environment, and employee retention.
  • Upcoming changes in the communications center.

Renee references:

LEGO OF MY SERVER! hOW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIFFERS BETWEEN INDUSTRIES.  A CHAT WITH BENJAMIN GAIRRETT.

“The IT guy is going to just tell me to restart it.” Are you curious to know more about what an IT department is doing behind the scenes, specifically within the 9-1-1 industry? This episode will answer your burning questions about information technology within a public safety government entity. Benjamin Gairrett is the information technology support manager at the Authority and holds many certifications to include the ENP and CMCP. He discusses how technology and the industry has changed over his 9 years at the Authority.  He has used his military background and experience to breakdown functional silos and build “esprit de corps” within the IT department.

In this episode Benjamin talks about:

  • How technology has changed since working at Fort Carson, Norad, and the Authority.
  • The benefits and growth of virtualization.
  • His excitement with the relatively new Centralized Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD).
  • Tips for those getting into information technology.

Benjamin references:

  • Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM).
  • Building Lego creations to reduce stress.  If you’re new to Legos, you can check out some of these kits.
  • The military sci-fi series called Safehold by David Weber.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO? A LITTLE HISTORY WITH CHRISTY DAVIS.

Ever wonder what happens to the 9-1-1 surcharge or how the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority came to be?  In our most recent 9-1-1 Weight in Gold episode, Christy Davis shares her knowledge of the Authority's history and how a variety of services are covered with the surcharge.  She discusses the changes she's seen in her profession as well as the 9-1-1 Authority and the constant demand to change with the times.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • How the surcharge is distributed and the criteria for funding.
  • How the 9-1-1 Authority has changed over the years.
  • What types of projects and tasks she is responsible for managing.
  • A few lessons learned when transitioning from a very small organization to a little bigger government entity.

Christy references:

FROM BEHIND A HEADSET TO STANDING ON A STAGE, HEAR HOW BEN BILLS BECAME A 9-1-1 PUBLIC EDUCATOR AND PIO.

Want to know what it takes to be an emergency telecommunicator or better yet a public information officer?  Ben Bills tells his story about how he got started in emergency dispatch and how it evolved to working a variety of jobs at the 9-1-1 Authority until he found his calling as a public educator and information officer. He explains how he created a public education program from the ground up and got into public speaking.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • The process of becoming an emergency services call taker and dispatcher.
  • Difficult calls he has taken.
  • How he handles stress.
  • How he started an education program and department.
  • Tips for public speaking and how to handle speaking in front of a large crowd.

Ben references:

TOGETHER WE'RE BETTER. A CONVERSATION WITH CARL SIMPSON, CEO OF THE EL PASO-TELLER COUNTY 9-1-1 AUTHORITY.

What's the best way to celebrate your work-iversary? A podcast recording, of course! Carl Simpson has been CEO at the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority for five years.  Within that time, a lot has changed.  Learn a few secrets from the man upstairs and how he has shifted the culture and work environment at the Authority.

In this episode, you will hear and learn about:

  • Carl's background in the 9-1-1 industry.
  • Lessons learned when starting a new leadership position.
  • How to build a positive and motivating work environment.
  • Ways to handle stress.
  • Improvements in 9-1-1 technology.
  • The next big thing for the Authority.

This episode references:

9-1-1 Weight in Gold Trailer

We would like to introduce, 9-1-1 Weight in Gold!  This podcast explores everything within the unique and complex world of 9-1-1.  Starting from within our organization to the communication centers we serve, we will be discussing everything in the 9-1-1 industry.  

Learn about the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority as we chat with members from the Administration, IT, GIS, Quality Assurance and Training, and Public Education departments.  Stay current with what's happening in 9-1-1 centers as we talk with communication center managers and telecommunicators.  Discover more about 9-1-1 as we interview others in the industry. 

These candid conversations are intended to be both informational and insightful. While we try to keep it light, some conversations may go deeper just like many stories in public safety do.

The podcast is currently available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Help us spread the word by subscribing and leaving it a review.  You can also share, save, and like our social media posts about the podcast.  Everything helps and is very appreciated!