9-1-1 dispatchers in Houston will no longer ask callers if they have coronavirus symptoms, and city firefighters will now assume all callers have tested positive when responding to a site. Fire Chief Sam Pena says the move was partly due to fears that callers were not being honest about their symptoms.
9-1-1 centers usually don't have their own dedicated cybersecurity staff, and their systems are harder to secure, putting them at a greater risk of ransomware attacks and other cybercrimes, according to National Emergency Number Association CEO Brian Fontes and technical issues director Brandon Abley. Tennessee is working with Mission Critical Partners to evaluate the security of its public safety answering points.
9-1-1 dispatcher and consultant Eric Harne created a way to map conversations between 9-1-1 professionals and callers that shows the likelihood of an issue being resolved. He advises telecommunicators to be self-aware, not take things personally and remember that they are being recorded.
An elderly woman in Dallas called 9-1-1, saying she was out of food and had gone three days without eating. Operator Valencia Crowder, who handled the call, and her colleagues collected money, bought food and delivered it to the woman.
Municipalities and state groups have been adopting FirstNet faster during the pandemic, according to FirstNet board Chairman Ed Horowitz. The increased need for virtual communication and the growth in FirstNet apps are two potential reasons.
"Park pressure" has increased during the pandemic, particularly in communities where parks are typically smaller, says Linda Hwang of the Trust for Public Land. Recreation and park departments are also facing budget cuts, as the National Recreation and Park Association notes that their funding is often seen as "being fully discretionary and as a luxury."
Vermont's delay of the school year has led to Essex Junction and Rutland extending summer camps, which shouldn't be a problem for staffing, says Rutland Recreation and Parks Superintendent Kim Peters. Essex Junction will charge parents for the additional two weeks, says parks official Maureen Gillard.
The Harbor Springs, Mich., Parks and Recreation Department this week began holding free outdoor fitness classes at Zorn Park. "We're hoping to get people outdoors and we're hoping to get people hooked on some of the exercises and being healthy," says Parks and Recreation Director Dennis McDermott, who started in his role in May.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority in Southern California has purchased a 320-acre property bordering Chino Hills State Park for preservation. The authority paid $2.56 million.