April 11-17, 2021
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW) is held annually during the second week of April to honor telecommunications personnel for their commitment, service, and sacrifice. NPSTW initially started in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California. In 1994, President William J. Clinton signed Presidential Proclamation 6667, declaring the second week of April as NPSTW. This week is a time to celebrate and thank telecommunications personnel across the Nation who serve our communities, citizens, and public safety personnel 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about the history of NPSTW, visit NPSTW.org.
911 centers, including emergency communications centers (ECC), public safety answering points (PSAP), public safety communications centers (PSCC), emergency operations centers (EOC), and other public safety command centers, are a critical component of emergency communications and provide critical, life-saving emergency services to the public.
CISA works collaboratively with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (FSLTT) governments, private sector, and volunteer response organizations to support emergency communications operability, interoperability, and resiliency across our Nation. CISA supports the 911 community though:
Strategic Planning – The National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) is the Nation’s strategic plan to strengthen and enhance emergency communications capabilities. The NECP encourages transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911) capabilities and incorporating human factors in training and exercises to address the demands that voice, video, and data information place on personnel, such as our Nation’s telecommunicators. In addition, SAFECOM Grant Guidance emphasizes these same needs.
Research and Development – CISA conducts innovative studies and pilots and develops tools for 911 and NG911. These activities include Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)-to-CAD initiatives, multimedia consumption research, and tool development to ease the burden on telecommunicators.
Technical Assistance – CISA provides direct technical assistance and training to support 911. The service offerings, including NG911 strategic planning support and 911 cyber assessments, can be found in the Technical Assistance Catalog.
Resources and Tools – In collaboration with our partners, CISA develops stakeholder-driven tools and guidance to encourage operable, interoperable, and resilient communications. Products are informed by a broad range of FSTLTT agencies, public safety associations, operational personnel, and emergency communications stakeholders representing SAFECOM, National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC), and the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center (ECPC).
CISA developed resources, guidance, and tools to help 911 centers prepare for NG911, strengthen cyber hygiene practices, and support the health and wellness of telecommunications personnel.
- Pandemic Guidance for 911 Centers: CISA also developed guidance for 911 centers for pandemic response and vaccine rollout.
- The Guidelines for 911 Centers: Mitigate COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Communication provide best practices to help public safety partners and communications providers to avoid the disruptions that some centers have incurred during vaccine rollout, caused by volume overload to local networks.
- The Pandemic Guidelines for 911 Centers suite of documents provide guidance on pandemic planning, staffing and operating procedures, and cleaning and disinfecting for 911 centers.
- NG911: These resources provide information and tools to help 911 stakeholders transition to NG911.
- The NG911 Self-Assessment Tool is a detailed, easy-to-use NG911 readiness checklist which allows 911 centers to evaluate their NG911 maturity state and understand next steps to implement NG911.
- The Geographic Information System (GIS) Lifecyle Best Practices Guide for NG911 provides GIS lifecycle best practices to help 911 centers implement essential GIS components for NG911.
- Cybersecurity for 911 and NG911 Systems: 911 centers are often targeted by malicious actors seeking to disrupt 911 operations and their ability to provide life-saving and critical emergency services to the public. These resources provide information on common attack vectors to 911 systems and best practices to mitigate cyber threats, such as ransomware, telephony denial-of-service, and malware attacks.
- The Cyber Risks to NG911 gives public safety managers and officials accurate information and best practices to maintain and improve their NG911 cybersecurity posture.
- The Public Safety Cyber and Communications Resiliency Toolkit helps public safety agencies evaluate their current cybersecurity resiliency identify improvements, and develop plans for mitigating the effects of potential cyber threats.
- The Cyber Risks to 911: Telephony Denial of Service fact sheet familiarizes public safety communications partners with Telephony Denial of Services (TDoS) threats to 911. The document overviews commom TDoS attack vectors, highlights real-world TDoS incidents, and suggest best practices to mitigate TDoS impacts.
- The Protect Your Center from Ransomware Poster can be placed in any 911 center. The poster provides information about what 911 center staff can do to reduce the risk of ransomware. Although the poster's focus is on ransomware, tis recommendations are applicable across a range of cyber threats like phishing, social engineering and password management.
CISA Celebrates NPSTW 2021, published April 14, 2021.
Priority Telecommunications Services: Supporting Resilient 911 Communications, published April 16, 2021.