Training, Training, every day is a training day! – a phrase that’s commonly echoed in the Fire Service, and for good reason. The Natchitoches Parish Communications District is sponsoring fire communications training, which began on February 2, 2021.
The purpose of the training is to ensure that the 9-1-1 call takers and public safety dispatchers who staff the Natchitoches Parish Emergency Communications Center and answer calls to 9-1-1, have the opportunity to be exposed to both theory and practices that are important to the fire service agencies for which they are providing call taking and dispatch services. In mid-2020, the Natchitoches Police Department began providing dispatch services to the Natchitoches Fire Department, and has subsequently enrolled five of their dispatch staff in the class.
According to Willis Carter, Executive Director for Natchitoches Parish 9-1-1 Communications District, “training is one of the six most crucial elements necessary to the operation of a successful public safety Emergency Communications Center. The other five elements are the people who are employed as managers, call takers, and dispatchers; well-vetted policy supported by clear procedures; qualified supervision; use of modern technology; and compliance with progressive discipline practices.”
The 40-Hour Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) training course is being instructed by Mr. Mark Boudreaux, who is a certified APCO trainer in addition to his role as the Executive Director of the Terrebonne Parish (Louisiana) 9-1-1 Communications District. The APCO Fire Communications Training is provided by the 9-1-1 Communications District at no cost to participants and consists of four days of classroom instruction and one day of hands-on practical exercises, which will be presented by the Natchitoches Fire Department assisted by various Natchitoches parish fire districts.
City of Natchitoches Fire Chief, John Wynn who also serves as Chairman of the Natchitoches Parish Communications District Board of Commissioners, said that “he is pleased that the Communications District is able to provide this much needed training for those 9-1-1 call takers who answer our 9-1-1 calls.”