PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 37

rate. It also stated that a Defense Department
study in 2013 "found that drone pilots had
experienced mental health problems like
depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic
stress disorder at the same rate as pilots of
manned aircraft who were deployed to Iraq or
Afghanistan."4 In another article, published
in U.S. News on November 18, 2014, Air Force
Lt. Col. Cameron Thurman described drone
operators' jobs and the toll it takes: "Nothing
is more painful than watching a horrible massacre and not being able to do anything about
it. You've all seen a movie where there's a

All this data will surely
change our staffing
levels, as we will have to
dedicate more human
resources to monitoring
the data and relaying
the information. What is
unclear is how this will
affect telecommunicators
who will come face-to-face
with the tragedies they have
previously only heard.

scene in it, and you take that scene home
and you think about it for a while. The things
these guys watch are not a movie."5
Many 9-1-1 telecommunicators are
attracted to the job because it is a way to
make a difference in people's lives, a way to
join public safety without being subjected to
the sights and smells that firefighters, paramedics and police officers face every day.
As evidenced by Lilly's study, we still pay
the price for the things we hear and handle
over the phone and the radio. The evidence
coming from the Air Force and its drone
pilots suggests that watching video footage
or seeing picture evidence that may come
into PSAPs in the near future could have
similar effects on telecommunicators, given
the closeness in nature between the two jobs.
How will telecommunicators react to video
footage of someone who wants to broadcast
live their suicide? What about video footage of the motor vehicle accident described
above? Consider the video footage that may
come from a drone surveying a house fire,
documenting someone trapped by the flames
and unable to escape?
These are questions PSAP managers and
human resources professionals will face in
the near future. Recruiting and retention
is already a challenge for most PSAPs. The

PSC | May/June 2017

dealing with calls in an auditory way, either
through the phone or through the radio. No
one has yet studied the effects of visual data
intake on telecommunicators.
The closest anyone has come to studying
these effects is the U.S. Air Force, which has
trained operatives who use drone footage in
Iraq and other locations. These operatives'
job responsibilities are remarkably similar
to 9-1-1 telecommunicators. They are tied
to computer screens for entire shifts, watching camera footage and sometimes taking
action through their drones or ordering
ground troops to do so based on what they
see. Not only are they recording what they
see, but they are recording the aftermaths
of actions that they take. These things are
playing out in real time, just as video and
pictures sent to text-to-9-1-1 will be. The
same with drone footage that may be sent
from responder-launched devices back to
the PSAP. In fact, Lilly stated as part of her
research that "the extent to which telecommunicators are exposed to duty-related
trauma makes their job description much
more akin to military and paramilitary
samples (of PTSD research)."3
An article published in the New York
Times on June 16, 2015 reported that drone
pilots were leaving the Air Force at a high

37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PSC - May/June 2017 Issue

President’s Channel
On Scene
Public Safety Communications Systems: The Future Is Smart
Evolution of the PSAP
E-Comm: A Model for Consolidated Emergency Communications and Public Safety Support
The Dos and Don’ts of Designing Your Communications Center on a Budget
When Germs Attack – Help Your PSAP Fight Back
How a Scheduling System Can Save Your Sanity
Advances in Quality Assurance and Improvement Software
9-1-1, Show Us Your Emergency
High Performance CPR & CDE Exam
Managing Peers in the PSAP & CDE Exam
Direct Channel With APCO
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - Intro
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - cover1
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - cover2
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 3
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 4
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 5
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 6
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 7
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 8
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 9
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - President’s Channel
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - On Scene
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 12
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 13
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - Public Safety Communications Systems: The Future Is Smart
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 15
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - Evolution of the PSAP
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 17
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 18
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 19
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - E-Comm: A Model for Consolidated Emergency Communications and Public Safety Support
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 21
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - The Dos and Don’ts of Designing Your Communications Center on a Budget
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 23
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - When Germs Attack – Help Your PSAP Fight Back
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 25
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 26
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 27
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 28
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 29
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - How a Scheduling System Can Save Your Sanity
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 31
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - Advances in Quality Assurance and Improvement Software
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 33
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 34
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 35
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 9-1-1, Show Us Your Emergency
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 37
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 38
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 39
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - High Performance CPR & CDE Exam
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 41
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 42
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 43
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - Managing Peers in the PSAP & CDE Exam
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 45
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 46
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 47
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 48
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - 49
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - Direct Channel With APCO
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - cover3
PSC - May/June 2017 Issue - cover4
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