Earlier this week, Mayor John Tory proclaimed April 11-17, 2021, as Telecommunicators Week in Toronto to recognize the dedicated staff working for Toronto’s Paramedic, Police and Fire Services dispatch communications centres.
Telecommunicators Week is a national celebration in recognition of the work of telecommunication professionals. These Headset Heroes respond to thousands of 911 calls every year with skill and professionalism, making a significant impact on the lives of so many, each and every day.
Traditionally, Toronto Paramedic, Police, and Fire Services host an in-person Tri-Service Awards ceremony. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations took place virtually this year and individual ceremonies were held to recognize the 2020 Telecommunicators of the Year.
Award winners are nominated by their peers to recognize their achievement. The 2020 award winners are:
Toronto Paramedic Services
Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) of the Year Award: Heather Short
Awarded for consistently serving as a role model who provides active support to the entire team and demonstrates advanced working knowledge of communications systems and processes.
Call Taker of the Year Award: Dilnawaz Jogina
Awarded for demonstrating a positive attitude and a customer service orientation to both callers and peers. A person with a demonstrated knowledge of communication systems and processes with a willingness to learn and grow.
Senior EMD Leadership Award: Jennifer Laframboise
Awarded for demonstrating advanced leadership skills and fosters a positive working environment.
Communications Training Officer Mentor Award: Shawn Hargreaves
Awarded for creating a positive environment for mentoring staff and for advocating for patients, peers and students while demonstrating an advanced working knowledge of communication systems and processes.
Toronto Police Services
Telecommunicator of the Year Award: Erin Emerson
Awarded for actions that led to the rescue of two children from an abusive home. The recipient is a dedicated individual who demonstrates the ability to connect with compassion and do the right thing.
Toronto Fire Services
Telecommunicators of the Year Award: Eric Pade, Sam Peltier-Gilchrist and Justin Waldon accepted the award on behalf of their colleagues in Platoons 1 and 2.
In the early morning of March 29, 2020, Platoon 2 dispatched a call for a fire that quickly escalated to a fourth alarm. The incident continued through the shift change with Platoon 1. By effectively managing resources across the city, the two platoons worked seamlessly together to ensure that the responding crews were supported. The staff involved exemplified teamwork, and why poise under pressure is so important to the work that is done every day.
“Our 911 dispatchers play a vital role in our city, helping residents get the assistance they need by quickly responding to emergencies. While being faced with intense and emergent issues, our dispatchers have continued to be a calming, and reassuring voice for callers. I am proud of the work they do day in and day out. As part of our committed and dedicated Toronto Public Service and especially throughout the pandemic, they have been on the frontlines answering the calls and performing their duties in an exemplary manner. I want to thank all of our 911 telecommunicators for their hard work. I take great pleasure in celebrating this week with them.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The outstanding first responders in our Communications Centre deserve our highest recognition for delivering excellent service with compassion and professionalism. Our Emergency Medical Dispatchers and Call Takers respond to hundreds of thousands of emergency calls every year and I applaud them for their contributions to the city and its residents. Congratulations to each of the award winners and happy Telecommunicators Week.”
– Acting Chief Gord McEachen, Toronto Paramedic Services
“I want to express my gratitude to our telecommunication professionals, who are the backbone of the emergency services we provide to Torontonians. They deliver critical support with calm professionalism, gathering essential information during stressful situations and dispatching the emergency responders who save lives every day. It takes individuals with dedication, compassion and fortitude to do this challenging job, and I want to thank them and the 2020 award winners for the extraordinary efforts they make to help the citizens of Toronto at times when they need it most.”
– Chief James Ramer, Toronto Police Services
“Public safety telecommunicators are people who serve as a vital link between our residents and visitors and emergency service agencies. These dedicated professionals often go unrecognized because they are the calm, yet unseen voice on the other end of the telephone line during stressful, and sometimes life-threatening situations. I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to all of the telecommunications personnel being recognized this year and I would also like to thank our colleagues from Toronto police and paramedic services for the strong relationships that allow us to work so well together on a daily basis.”
– Deputy Chief Tony Bavota, Toronto Fire Services
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