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Navigator, the Educational Conference Hot Spot for Emergency Dispatch Drew More than 1,200 Professionals

Navigator, the educational conference hot spot for emergency dispatch drew more than 1,200 professionals from 14 countries during six days of workshops and sessions held in April at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Sponsored by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) Dispatch, the conference drew professionals from countries that include the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, China, and Brazil. Workshops and sessions divided into seven educational tracks provided a multitude of choices suited to every level of emergency communications.

Not only were the classrooms filled near to capacity but, other activities dedicated to award presentations, exhibits, inspirational talks by keynote speakers, networking and a communications center tour were packed as well.

This year’s Dispatcher of the Year award went to New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Communications EMD Stephen Harris. Jeff Clawson, M.D., co-founder of the NAED, presented awards recognizing lifetime service and leadership. The City of Hialeah (Fla.) Public Safety Communications Division was announced as the third center in the world to achieve accreditation in fire, police, and medical dispatch.

College of Fellows Chair Marc Gay and IAED Standards Council Chair Marie Leroux accepted the Emeritus Award for lifetime service to the Academy. This was the fifth time in 20 years Dr. Jeff Clawson has presented the award. Both said the honor took them by surprise.

“The past 20 years have provided a wonderful experience helping the protocol grow from a good tool used in the states to an excellent one used throughout the world,” Leroux said. “But it’s the dedication of all of you that makes the good things happen.”

The German Language Cultural Committee took home the leadership award. The committee of 10 translated the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) protocol into the German language, which includes determining changes to accommodate medical/cultural details without affecting protocol’s integrity. The four members present to accept the award donated the $500 honoree check to the Japanese Red Cross to assist earthquake/tsunami victims.

The Academy announced 12 new Accredited Centers of Excellence (ACE) achieved over the past year in addition to 33 centers earning reaccreditation. An ACE signifies the highest level of excellence for emergency dispatch centers and requires completion of a rigorous 20-point self-study document and an onsite evaluation visit by Academy representatives.

Opening day featured speaker Richard Picciotto, a retired New York Fire Department (FDNY) Chief and the highest-ranking firefighter to survive the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He and members of his Battalion 11 were descending a stairwell between the sixth and seventh floors of the North Tower when—at 10:28 a.m. Eastern time—the tower collapsed and his life flashed before his eyes.

NAED President Scott Freitag called Navigator 2011 a momentous occasion.

“It’s exciting to witness the Academy’s growth,” “Just about everywhere we go calltakers are answering calls the way they should. Other aspects of operations may vary from country to country but protocol is a common thread.”

Each spring upwards of 1,000 emergency services professionals gather at the NAED’s annual Navigator conference to learn more about the dispatch role in EMS. The NAED is a non-profit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services.

For more information about the Academy, visit www.emergencydispatch.org.

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