First-time USA NAVIGATOR attendee Stephanie Dandonneau, Operations Chief, Groupe Alerte Santé Inc., Québec, Canada, said she was impressed with all of the sessions she attended, and was especially interested in Kim Rigden’s stress management presentation. Dandonneau said their personnel take turns attending conferences, and NAVIGATOR in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, was especially exciting for her.
“This place is just beautiful,” she said. “I am meeting lots of people and learning, too.”
Mindy Thomas, Manager, Queensland Ambulance Service, Rockhampton, Australia, traveled all the way from the Land Down Under in order to breathe in the sights and sounds of NAVIGATOR, her first American conference. She said networking was a highlight, particularly when it came to discovering the universality of emergency dispatch issues, such as investing so much in training only to see the new person leave within a few years.
“We all have a difference in structure, yes, but I am finding out that the challenges are the same,” she said.
The exquisiteness and excitement of New Orleans cuisine was fully enjoyed. Though some of us (myself included) did not venture past the safety of our accustomed palates, others were quite adventurous as they feasted upon the likes of charbroiled oysters, spicy jambalaya, and even alligator wings. I think it was just as much fun to watch their reactions during those first few bites!
Training and Operations Manager
Waukesha County Communications
Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA
I was pleased to see several breakout sessions that focused on stress management, health, and wellness. Christine Bannister, Supervisor, Waukesha County Communications, Wisconsin, USA, gave a comprehensive overview of stress and healthy ways to manage it in her presentation, “Wellness For the First, First Responder.” Tami Wiggins, Training and QA Manager, Harford County Department of Emergency Services, Maryland, USA, and Madeline Marks, Clinical Psychology Program, University of Central Florida, USA, partnered for the session, “When Trauma Hits the Dispatch Center.”
New sessions included a how-to in creating a 911 public education program, presented by Ben Bills, PIO, El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority, Colorado, USA, and Sasha Vargas-Fimiani, Public Educator, Charleston County Consolidated 9-1-1 Center, South Carolina, USA. Both are pioneers in the industry using creative ways to engage their communities in the 911 system.
Ricardo Martinez, Founder, “Within the Trenches Podcast,” and Creator of #IAM911, recorded several new episodes with guests for his podcast, recorded live from the Exhibit Hall. I had the honor of recording Episode #141.
Founder, Operation 10-8
Anaheim, California, USA
This is my fourth NAVIGATOR, and it’s always so awesome, especially the people you get to meet. You realize you’re not alone. NAVIGATOR is a great time to focus on the issues and share ideas.
Assistant Deputy Chief
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
I was impressed with the ETC Instructor manual someone from a neighboring 911 jurisdiction showed me, so I signed up for the instructor course at NAVIGATOR. We have a lot of new hires and want to give them an overview of the profession beyond policies and procedures. The ETC course will provide a great foundation.
Lakewood Police Department
Lakewood, Colorado, USA
It’s amazing to be in a room with so many agencies and open your mind to what the rest of the emergency communications world is doing.
Quality Improvement Manager
Richmond Ambulance Authority
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Dispatch is my career. I started as a volunteer firefighter, got into dispatch, and have watched it evolve for the past 19 years. I liked the protocol from the start. It gives you something great to go by.
CAD/GIS Systems Administrator
Montgomery County Hospital District
Houston, Texas, USA
This is my second NAVIGATOR, and I definitely come for the training. I started out wanting to be a police officer, changed into dispatch, and loved it. There’s so much about it that I enjoy: the adrenaline rush, helping people, and never having the same day twice.
Gulfport, Mississippi, USA
NAVIGATOR is about learning to improve on so many levels—next generation 911, technology, adult learning, training, and keeping up with changes in protocol. My agency is an ACE, and that holds us to a higher standard.
Bakersfield Fire Department 911
Bakersfield, California, USA