My NENA Experience
This year the voting committee of the Within the Trenches Continuing Education Scholarship had a difficult decision to make. The votes were very close but in the end the recipient, Jordan Webb, Telecommunications Lead, with Henderson 9-1-1 out of Kentucky was chosen. The following is her experience.
To begin, I was so heartfelt and grateful for the acknowledgement from Within the Trenches for the opportunity to win the scholarship to the National NENA conference. After I wrote my essay and submitted it for the scholarship, my agency decided that unless we won a scholarship, due to the budget cuts, the scholarship was the only way we could attend the conference. I received a message from Ricardo and I knew then, that I had probably won, not boasting, but my heart sank! I was so excited to be able to attend the National NENA conference in Orlando, FL. I must send a huge thank you to Ricardo at Within the Trenches and everyone who supports them who made this scholarship possible. Also, thank you to my agency at Henderson KY E911 for their support in my career and this opportunity.
A National conference is such an amazing experience; I encourage anyone in our field to go if you ever get the opportunity. It is such a unique convergence of networking, learning, and fun. I took part in the annual 5K Run for 911 which was such an awesome experience. From the opening to the close of all events at the conference, NENA does an awesome job of making everyone feel like a huge family, which we are.
There is so much to learn from others who know exactly what we deal with on a daily basis. There are so many experts who have firsthand experience and knowledge who provide new ideas and different approaches to the situations. I have many notes from the conference of different ideas and approaches to make me more effective and efficient at work that I hope to also pass along to others at my agency.
These experts, you have the opportunity to network and socialize with at many events within the conference. I have made many friends along the way and have obtained their contact information, all who are more than willing to help with anything that we may need. In my position as a lead, I have re-worked our training manual and we are currently re-doing our SOP’s for accreditation. I have reached out to several of my contacts for their information as well as having them review ours. It is so nice to have that contact for other agencies and directors who have gone through the same thing, for an additional expert opinion. I know from the NENA class that I took at the conference; my instructor is actually a Director of his agency. Not only was the class wonderful, but he left his contact information, and offered to give us the taught information for training purposes at our own center.
The different vendors at the conference and their many products available to enhance our centers are amazing with how much technology is available. They are so knowledgeable about what we do and they know their product and how it can help us day to day. If you get the chance to go, look at all of the different things that would make our job “easier” and take ideas and information back to your center. Then encourage your boss to look at the products and apply for the grant or whatever it may be when there are extra funds available or it is time to make choices considering equipment. I know personally, as a front line dispatcher who is now a supervisor, I know what it is like firsthand and have influence on the equipment we choose in the future. I looked at many different CAD providers and certainly have my eye on several that would be so great to work with.
The motivation within itself is worth the entire conference. To remind ourselves that what we do is important, that even when we are burnt out, we save lives daily and we have the ability to help others, and that is an amazing opportunity.
Thank you again for this amazing opportunity that I will never forget.
Lead Communications Officer
Henderson County E911 Center