One of the reasons why the fire service and law enforcement are such proudnand storied organizations is the respect they show their traditions and their history. Show me an organization that understands and values its past and that organization will likely have a promising future.
As a generally new profession, 9-1-1 (or whatever discipline of emergency communications you are a part of) often doesn't take the time to reflect on where it started or where it has been. In the chaos of the schedule of most 9-1-1 directors there is little room for "value our history" between meetings, calls, meetings and calls.
However, this ends up costing us far more than we realize. As we look tohave a better, more engaged, and effective workforce one strategy is to help our dispatchers grasp their role as part of something much bigger. As a critical piece of a public safety profession that has roots well over 150 years old. Sharing with our new members their responsibility to help this proud group grow, succeed, and continue puts their actions into prospective. It helps them to feel connected to something bigger.
One simple way to do this is to value the senior members of our organizations and those who have retired. Too often, the last time a person is seen in the center is the day they retire. Too many never again step foot inside the center. This is a sad and missed opportunity.
Think of how much knowledge is potentially lost. How much support for new people could be found in the lessons or encouraging words shared by a long time veteran? Why not have the retiree come back and speak to the newly hired- explaining just how valued their career and friendships were? Or serve as a mentor to those interested in the career?
Many fire departments and police agencies have groups for their retirees. Seeing them at the table in the kitchen is an important event for everyone concerned. It connects the future to the the past and the present and helps to build the community that we should all be a part of.
I encourage each of you to find ways to connect your agency to its history and your personnel to those who have served before and who are just starting out. Maybe its a retiree night at the center; a newsletter that shares "where are tgey now" or a display of memoribilia in the lobby of your center. Whatever forms it takes, being connected to our senior and retired members will pay dividends for all concerned and help us create an even better 9-1-1 profession.