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PA APCO Spring Conference has concluded, we wish to thank all attendees, sponsors, and vendors for their continued support.  Mark you calendars for next year's conference, April 7 - 10, 2019, at the Eden Resort.

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Thank you to all that attended the annual dinner meeting. Hope you had a wonderful time. Please plan on attending next year, Thursday, December 13, 2018.

The Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 term were sworn in by Past President, Kathy Skiles.

BOD

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Diane M. Benner, age 70, Bloomsburg formerly of Lehighton, died suddenly on Saturday, September 10, 2016, in Bloomsburg. Diane was a resident of her Mt. Pleasant Township home for over 22 years.

diane-benner-1473762663Diane was born on Saturday, November 10, 1945 in Lehighton, daughter of the late Gilbert L. and Pauline E. (Walck) Benner. She was a 1963 graduate of Lehighton Area High School. She was a member of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church of Lehighton, PA.

Diane was active in the Boy Scouts of America starting out as a Den Mother and advancing to a representative for the Minsi Trails Council for youths in the Anthracite, Pocono Mountain and Lehigh Valley Regions. She even had the opportunity to travel to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico on several occasions for advanced leadership training.

Diane was, to put it mildly, a collector of Teddy bears. Her collection of bears and Teddy-bear-related items numbered in the thousands. She also enjoyed doing crafts, playing cards and being with her friends.

Diane’s true passion, though, was Emergency Services. Through years of classes, seminars, and training in the EMT and Emergency Communications fields she became an instructor in those same fields. Diane was a member of the Bloomsburg Ambulance Association for over 30 years. For many years she was Chief Deputy Coroner of Columbia County serving under Coroner Dr. Alley. Diane was a Columbia County emergency services dispatcher for over 17 years. She was a lifetime member and an instructor for APCO International. For many years Diane was an auditor for Mt. Pleasant Township.

Currently she was employed by Greater Columbia Medical Transport as an EMT at the Sober Room at Bloomsburg University.

Survivors include her son, Chad M. Benner and wife, Kim; a grandson, Garrett G. Dieter, all of Palmerton, PA; two brothers: David Benner of Yuba City, CA and Dean Benner and companion, Doreen Miller, of Landsford, PA; also a sister, Donna, wife of Victor Leidy of Lehighton, PA.

A time of visitation for family and friends will be held on Tuesday, September 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Allen Funeral Home, Inc., 745 Market at Eighth St., Bloomsburg.

A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. at the Bloomsburg Fire Department Social Hall, 911 Market St., Bloomsburg on Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

A memorial service will also be held the following week at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Lehighton with internment to follow at Franklin Heights Cemetery also in Lehighton. Service details will be published in a future edition of the Press Enterprise.

Contributions in Diane’s honor and memory are suggested to the family or any local Emergency Services Organization.

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Signatures Needed - Sign and Pass Along

As the federal government nears a final decision on whether to update its classification system describing occupations in the United States, APCO has launched a White House petition entitled "9-1-1 Professionals Should Be Recognized for Protecting and Saving Lives." The goal of this petition, timed with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, is to draw attention to the need to classify Public Safety Telecommunicators as Protective Service Occupations.

Sign the Petition

Send to colleagues, family and friends using this link: www.apcointl.org/whitehousepetition 

The deadline to collect 100,000 signatures is May 7.

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PA APCO Chapter sends condolences to the Klinger family...

Robert Wayne Klinger, 78, of Mechanicsburg, Lower Allen Twp., passed away Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Vibra Life, Mechanicsburg.

He was a retired Communications Specialist with the Commonwealth of PA Office of Attorney General, Harrisburg and served eight years in the U.S. Naval Reserves.  He was a member of the 1954 Class of John Harris High School, Harrisburg and enjoyed fishing and traveling.  He was a member of Mt. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lewisberry, a member of P.A.R.S.E.; and a life member of both the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Bob received the 2010 John H. McCormick Educational Outreach Award given by the Central PA Engineers Week Council (CPEWC).  His technical work did not end with his retirement in 2007.  In 2009, Bob served as president of CPEWC where he was a strong advocate for their educational outreach program.  He enjoyed providing technical support, arranging field trips and talking to students at Harrisburg’s ITT Technical Institute.

Bob was born in Harrisburg to the late Clarence and Helen (Snyder) Klinger and was preceded in death by his daughter Suzanne Marie Klinger.  He is survived by his wife of more than 55 years, Jean (Trout) Klinger; his son Douglas Robert Klinger of Etters; and three brothers, Ronald, Thomas of Dauphin and David of Harrisburg; and his feline friend Minnie.

Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Thursday, September 24, 2015 in his church, 863 Lewisberry Rd. Lewisberry, PA 17339 with the Rev. Timothy L. Hoffman, his Pastor officiating.  Viewing will be one hour prior to service time in the church.  Burial will be in Mt. Zion Hilltop Cemetery, immediately adjacent to the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorial contributions in Bob’s name be made to either his church or Hospice of Central PA, 1320 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA  17110.

To send messages of condolence to the Klinger family or for driving directions, please visit www.Parthemore.com.

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In times of emergency, 911 callers rely on first responders to arrive on the scene to provide direct assistance. But it's 911 dispatchers like Reading resident Cindy Geiger who work behind the scenes to make sure the right kind of help is on its way.

Geiger works the 10-hour day shift as a watch officer at Berks County Department of Emergency Services’ 911 Communications Center in Reading. As a watch officer, she supervises the day-to-day operations at the Communications Center, including overseeing 12-15 dispatchers, troubleshooting technical issues and answering calls, if needed.

Call takers answer calls to the county’s 911 lines for life-threatening emergencies (critical injuries, entrapment, house fires, etc.) and the 10-digit line for non-life-threatening emergencies (noise complaints, cats in trees, etc.). Radio operators dispatch the appropriate police, fire department and/or ambulance crews, or contact the appropriate assistance for all other calls.

“You never know what you’re going to get when you answer that phone,” Geiger says.

“You can have hours of mundane, routine calls and then minutes of chaos.” On average, the center receives 500-600 calls a day to both the 911 number and the 10-digit number. A busy day can produce upwards of 800 to 1,000 calls. In the first half of this year, the center received and made nearly 340,000 phone calls.  

When a 911 call comes into the center, call takers must obtain the caller’s location, township or borough, and then ascertain the problem, not to mention do their best to keep frantic callers focused.

“We’re trained to control the chaos the caller is immersed in,” Geiger says. “We use a lot of repetition to make sure all the details are given to us. We have to break their tunnel vision to get the information we need and put them in the right frame of mind.”

Types of calls vary greatly, but 911 telecommunicators aim for the same end result. “We want a positive outcome,” Geiger says. “Our ultimate goal is to have everyone satisfied with the service they received. We want them to feel like they’ve been given options to fix their problem.”

Every telecommunicator receives ongoing Emergency Medical Dispatch training to learn how to provide first-aid and CPR instructions over the phone as well as the instructions needed to deliver babies. They must also pass ongoing certifications by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Geiger began her career as a dispatcher with the Communications Center 30 years ago – five years before Berks County officially implemented the 911 system – and worked her way up to watch officer.

During her early years, the center dispatched 20 police departments, five fire companies and three ambulance crews. Today, the center dispatches 42 police departments, 59 fire companies and 17 ambulance crews.

She says the biggest changes to impact her field are technology (an enhanced radio system will be put into place by the end of 2014) and the rise of the cell phone.

While both have been positive changes, cell phones have introduced new challenges to dispatchers: unlike landlines, cell phones do not provide a location when a person calls the center; individuals often pocket dial 911; and children accidentally dial 911 when given an old cell phone to use as a toy.

“One little girl had called the center 67 times in one hour,” Geiger recalls. “Parents need to remember that even though a cell phone might not have paid service, it can still dial 911 as long as it has a charge. That is an FCC regulation.”

Geiger will retire March 10, 2015. She plans to enjoy camping and spending quality time with her family and friends. But first, she will leave March 15 for a much-deserved seven-day cruise to the Southern Caribbean.

 “I’m going to put my feet up and not answer the phone for a week,” Geiger jokes.

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PA APCO congratulates our new RPL

(Registered Public-Safety Leaders)

Paul Widmayer, RPL

“I believe that training never ends and you can always learn something new. I enjoyed the RPL training program very much and made friends with peers in other states.”

Paul has worked for West Chester Police Communications (Chester County) for 15 years. He is a volunteer firefighter for the Good Will Fire Co. in West Chester (20 years) and a member of the Chester County Hazmat Team (7 years). He is married with two daughters.

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Judith R. Brackin

recognized by APCO International as a SENIOR MEMBER

Judith Brackin was recently honored as a Senior Member by APCO International. This is the second highest recognition in the Association.

The award was presented to Judith by APCO International past-president Bill Carrow and APCO International Board of Director JJ McFarland.

A nominee must have been a member of APCO for at least 10 years and made at least 4 major accomplishments that have contributed to APCO in accordance with the requirements set forth in the APCO International Policy Manual. At least one of these accomplishments must be at the Association level.

During Judy’s career, she has accomplished many more than the minimum number of accomplishments.

Following are her accomplishments that earned her the Senior Member honor:

Chapter Accomplishments

* Served two years as chapter President

* Served five years as Chapter Awards Committee chair 

* Served two years as PA Chapter Executive Council representative

* Member of Legislative Liaisons Committee             2011 to present

* Served on the PA Chapter Legislative Committee in developing and implementing

    the Wireless Legislation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

 

International Association Accomplishments

* Served two years on the APCO International Awards Committee 2006 – 2008.

* Served as Chair of the APCO International Awards Committee    2007 - 2008

 

See the Senior Member letter of award from APCO International President Gigi Smith

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