Iowa HSEMD is joining national public safety leaders in recognizing April 2024 as National 911 Education Month to promote 911 awareness and proper usage.

National 911 Education Month is a campaign to help Americans of all ages recognize the importance of calling or texting 911 and the role they play in ensuring effective and efficient emergency response in times of crisis. Groups including the United States Congress and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), a leading public safety association, have also recognized April as National 911 Education Month, and are encouraging the media, the 911 community, the wireless industry, and public information providers to engage in 911 awareness and education activities this month.

“When calling 911, remember to stay calm and be aware of your location so you can help 911 dispatchers locate you during an emergency,” said HSEMD’s Blake DeRouchey, Iowa’s 911 program manager.

In addition to highlighting the importance of 911, HSEMD is recognizing Iowa’s dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 14-20. 

“Iowa’s 911 dispatchers are ready to take a call on what may be the worst day of someone’s life,” said DeRouchey. “Dispatchers go through training that enables them to handle stressful calls on a daily basis. For the public, knowing what to expect when they call 911 may assist them in staying calm, which can help dispatchers get the right emergency assistance out in a timely manner.”

DeRouchey added that it is important for callers to 911 to stay on the line to answer questions. “When calling 911, it may seem like the dispatchers are asking a lot of questions that could slow the arrival of help, but they are very adept at multitasking and are already directing responders to the scene. With the additional information, dispatchers can provide responders with a more complete picture of what to expect at the scene.”