Tennis is safe to play during the pandemic and also promotes social interaction that benefits mental health, says Juan Villanueva, a tennis coach at the Montevalle Recreation Center in Chula Vista, Calif. "Even though [players] are not getting close to each other, they are really really happy to see each other," he says.
During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, dispatchers say the pandemic has led to changes in the questions they ask callers, as well as the types of calls they receive and where and how they work. Half of dispatchers in Rock County, Wis., began working from an alternate location last year, and dispatchers there and in Florida and Arizona say they've received invaluable support from one another.
Police dispatchers in Anchorage, Alaska, were answering calls within 8.6 seconds on average as of February, an improvement from a peak of up to 21 seconds several years ago. The city has eight more dispatchers now than in 2018, which officials say has helped improve wait times, along with the introduction of a 3-1-1 nonemergency number.
9-1-1 dispatchers in Rockford, Ill., recently learned how to identify callers who may be experiencing strangulation in domestic violence situations that could precede homicide. Raspy voice, problems swallowing and sore throat can all indicate strangulation, says Rockford 911 Division Administrator Todd Stockburger.
Nebraska 9-1-1 dispatcher Lisa Pachunka gave CPR instructions over the phone to help Bill and Kym Schammert save their 13-day-old son's life. "During the most stressful moment of our lives, (Pachunka) was one of the calmest voices I'd ever heard," said Bill Schammert, a local TV news anchor who later met Pachunka and described the experience during a broadcast.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is working on a computer system that would enable public safety personnel to connect their radios to broadband networks and use updated features such as text and video. The system involves a software-defined radio, an open-source software environment and a user interface.
Garbage trucks will soon disappear from the streets of Maroochydore, Australia, as the city prepares to implement an underground waste disposal system that consists of a network of vacuum pipes that will move waste to a central collection station. The system is being installed under the city's central business district.
City Manager William Bridgeo of Augusta, Maine, this week informed City Council members that he intends to retire in September. Bridgeo has been city manager since 1998.
The Check Out Colorado State Parks program sets up libraries to loan state park passes and backpacks equipped with outdoors supplies. Jill Kleven of the Pueblo City-County Library District says the program eliminates the cost barrier that prevents some people from visiting parks.
The Mississippi Legislature ended its recent session without taking major action on privatizing, funding or promoting state parks. Smaller funding efforts were approved, including a 5% fiscal-year budget increase for the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.