911 Wellness NEWS


In this section of the blog we feature breaking news related to 911WF and our mission. Here we will also archive major stories and articles written by our staff, members or others that collectively lend insight about our Foundation’s identity, preserve the history of the work of 911WF and our partners, or have value to inspire and educate our readers to help in the pursuit of 911 resilience and peak performance in the future. Enjoy!

Articles Posted on This Page

  • Oregon 911 Center boosts Wellness with Treadmills: and that Means Peak Performance! 
  • 911 Wellness Foundation and the Institute of HeartMath establish Strategic Partnership
  • 911 Wellness Foundation and the National Emergency Number Association Establish Official Alliance
  • 911WF and the Texas Chapter of NENA Also Establish Official Alliance

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Oregon 911 Center boosts Wellness with Treadmills: and that Means Peak Performance!

By Jim Marshall, 911WF Chair/CEO, March 4, 2015

You would be correct if you thought that the 911 Wellness Foundation  is all about addressing the psychological challenges of stressors impacting 911 telecommunicators. But that doesn’t mean we’re not concerned with promoting physical health. In fact, we are devoted to helping reverse and prevent major medical diseases driven by unmanaged stress among our 911 professionals.

So the mind/body connection is at the heart of our mission (pun intended). We as 911 stakeholders must strategically work both to address the reciprocal effects of mind on body and body on mind. And the more we do to feed our bodies what they need–sleep, exercise and nutrition, the more resilient we become to psychological stressors.

911 TREADMILLS: More Steps in the Right Direction! In the past year, several 911 centers in the U.S. have launched strategic wellness programs to promote the physical and mental health of their telecommunicators.  And the National Emergency Number Association–a strategic partner of 911WF– has shown its commitment to wellness by devoted two full issues of their magazine The Call to the topic during 2014. Among the articles was one featuring the wellness program started by Grand Junction Regional Communication Center (CO). We at the Foundation cheered for GJRCC as they developed this program and now we celebrate Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA, Beaverton OR) as early adapters and innovators in 911 wellness. See this video of the NBC Feature Story aired: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/911-operators-log-calls-miles-oregon-treadmill-study-n316636.

What we doubly applaud is that WCCCA has taken the initiative to collaborate with Oregon Health & Science University to scientifically study and support the value of this program. This is crucial since all dollars spend on 911 wellness should be invested in evidence-based solutions. For that reason 911 Wellness Foundation recognizes this local PSAP project as exemplary.

We commend WCCCA 911 leader Gina Burnett Hensley for her leadership and her frontline 911 Professionals for their daily work to embrace this great opportunity. As we at the Foundation say: “When 911Pros are healthy, it’s better for all of us!”  

Thank you Gina and WCCCA for inspiring the entire 911 Community in North America!

Want to know more about WCCCA’s Treadmill program? Gina invites your emails: send your inquiries to ghensley@wccca.com

Help us share Your Story of 911 Wellness Innovation! If your PSAP is taking initiative to support the wellbeing and resilience of your 911 personnel, please email us news about your effort and let us feature it to support and inspire the rest of our 911 family: e-mail,  911Wellness@live.com. Onward and Upward with the cause!

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911 Wellness Foundation and Institute of HeartMath form Strategic Alliance

By Jim Marshall, 911WF Chair/CEO, November 24, 2014

If you consider resilience in the face of increasing 911 stress to be essential to the future success of our 911 telecommunicators, you’ll likely agree that their future may have just become brighter.

On  September 24, 2014, 911WF and the Institute of HeartMath (IHM) finalized a Memorandum of Understanding joining the organizations in their missions of fostering optimal resilience and peak performance among the nation’s 911 telecommunicators. HeartMath is non-profit organization specializing in psychophysiological research on heart intelligence and stress management, and delivery of education to foster resilience among individuals, families, organizations and communities.IHM resources have been utilized by first responders, military personnel, Olympians, and Fortune 500 companies.

The Background:  911WF CEO Jim Marshall is also Director of 911 Training Institute (a subsidiary of MasterCare Institute, PC which is unaffiliated with 911WF).  As a  911 educator Jim  has maintained a commitment to building 911 Training Institute’s comprehensive stress resilience curriculum  on evidence-based skills training and knowledge derived from good science.  Jim learned about the Institute of HeartMath and the extensive research conducted by IHM’s pioneering psychophysiologist Roland McCraty upon which IHM’s Resilience Advantage™ curriculum is based. Jim embraced this knowledge and skills training as a Best Practice model optimally suited for integration within his 911 stress curriculum and pursued credentialing as a Certified Resilience Advantage Instructor.

While Jim will continue delivering this training through the 911 Training Institute, he has joined with IHM in behalf of the 911 Wellness Foundation to pursue non-profit research to identify innovative evidence-based practices to boost resilience and well-being specifically related to the unique stressors faced by among 911 telecommunicators.   Stay tuned for updates on this collaboration.

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911 Wellness Foundation and the National Emergency Number Association Establish Official Alliance  

By Jim Marshall, 911WF Chair/CEO, July 7, 2014

On June 16, 2014, NENA and 911WF established an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU sets forth an Alliance which both groups consider crucial to their shared purpose as stated the Rationale section of the document:

Representatives of NENA and 911WF have worked together informally for several years in support of the well-being of 911 telecommunicators. Further, the missions of NENA and 911WF while distinct are highly complementary and will be advanced by this alliance assuring systematic collaborative efforts devoted to optimizing the personal health and performance of 911 telecommunicators and the organizational health of their Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP).

This NENA/911WF memorandum details a variety of activities each organization will contribute to achieving this shared purpose. The excerpted portion of the MOU below provides a detailed description of these activities. (Note that website formatting changes produced altered numbering of some items, but no substantial changes.)  Comments are welcome.

“The NENA and 911WF Alliance: Extending and Optimizing Ongoing Collaborative Efforts

Both organizations share significant ongoing concern about the health and performance implications of 911 work-related stress risks among our nation’s emergency telecommunicators. Such concern is supported by two recent studies.[1] [2] Yet the authors of those studies concur that more high quality research of work-related stress risks among the 911 telecommunicator population is needed to verify these findings. Several new studies are currently underway. Both NENA’s administrative staff and J. Marshall have worked to advance this research.[3]

Such efforts point to just one of several ways in which members of 911WF and NENA (both its administrative staff and elected officials) have worked to promote resilience among frontline telecommunicators thus far. They have shared skills and utilized NENA forums for this cause since 2006.[4] With this memorandum we agree to prioritize and specify activities that are mutually supportive of our respective missions in service to the wellbeing of 911 telecommunicators and optimal PSAP performance. While this MOU is not a legal document nor does it legally bind either organization to fulfilling these activities, NENA and 911WF recognize them as vital to achieving the success of this Alliance and will endeavor to pursue them to the best of their abilities.

Shared Activities of 911WF and NENA in launching and maintaining the Alliance (referred to hereafter as the Parties)

  1. To assure success of this Alliance, the CEO’s, designated staff and elected leaders of the Parties will meet within 30 days of its approval by their respective governing bodies to review, refine and plan for implementation of collaborative activities specified herein.
  2. The Parties will promote the Alliance and their allied organization to their respective memberships, encouraging participation, and will promote their ally to the other organizations with whom they partner or have established alliances as deemed beneficial to the purposes of the Alliance.
  3. The Parties will review this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) annually to revise and renew it as mutually deemed necessary or beneficial. It may be revoked at any time by either Party upon the approval of its respective governing body.

Alliance Contributions of 911 Wellness Foundation: 911WF will:

  1. Allocate a seat on the 911WF Board of Trustees to NENA’s CEO or his designee.
  2. Help optimize wellness and peak performance among NENA members by educating the NENA membership about risks and solutions related to 911 work stress, and stress-related health and performance issues.

To achieve this objective, 911WF will:

  1. As agreeable to NENA, designate a member of the 911WF Board of Trustees to serve on the Editorial Board of the NENA publication, The Call
  2. Engage members of 911WF Board of Trustees and its Council of Subject Matter Experts (CoSME) to:
    • Contribute articles to The Call on 911 wellness-related topics on a regular basis
    • Serve as a resource to (or member of) the NENA Conference Planning Committee for NENA’s annual conferences
    • Annually submit proposals for presentations at NENA conferences on topics both Parties consider most valuable to the conference theme and the Parties’ missions
    • Actively contribute to NENA Working Groups to support development of Standards, white papers and other documents in which expertise related to 911 wellness-related issues would help the Working Group

Help NENA assure the highest possible level of implementation of the NENA 911 Standard on Acute, Traumatic and Chronic Stress by North American PSAPs (NENA and Non-NENA members) Accordingly, 911WF will:

    1. Work with NENA staff and elected leaders to inform all 911 personnel about this Standard
    2. Define Best Practice in implementation of the core elements of the Standard
    3. Identify and inform NENA members about resources available to implement the Standard
    4. Provide direct technical support to PSAPs attempting to implement the Standard
    5. Engage the 911WF CoSME members and, as needed, identify and recruit other subject matter experts to help create resources and advise PSAPs to foster Best Practice implementation of the Standard
  1. Assist NENA in assuring successful adoption of Next Generation 911 (NG911) by working to strategically moderate predictable increases in psychological stress related to telecommunicator exposure to traumatic events during call-taking and dispatching via texting, real-time video and other NG911 technologies. 911WF will achieve this objective by:
  2. Sponsoring, convening and inviting NENA leaders to join with other key 911 stakeholders and subject matter experts to participate in the 911WF Summit on 911 Wellness: a by-invitation event designed to produce a long-term BluePrint for 911 Wellness in the Next Generation PSAP.
  3. Helping NENA develop policy initiatives (future standards, legislation) advancing 911 wellness in the NG911 workplace in accord with the BluePrint for 911 Wellness.
  4. Actively encourage local 911 professionals to join and actively participate in NENA, volunteering in its state chapters and national initiatives, participating in working groups, and by registering for and contributing to NENA conferences

Alliance Contributions of NENA: NENA will:

    1. Facilitate 911WF activities cited in section III, items A through E above
    2. Support 911WF’s Four Streams of Activity including:
  1. Research: inform NENA members about research projects sponsored or supported by 911WF and encourage membership participation as appropriate
  2. Education:
    • Prioritize 911 wellness issues: within the NENA Journal, The Call; as a regular topic at NENA Conferences; for NENA webinars; and, join with 911WF in co-authoring articles and educational opportunities for the greater 911 community (beyond the membership of NENA and 911WF)
  3. Policy:
    • Join with 911WF in identifying exemplary 911 centers who exhibit Best Practice implementation of the 911 Standard on Acute, Traumatic and Chronic Stress
    • Engage the NENA Communications Department in featuring such PSAPs in its publications to promote the Standard and assist other PSAP in achieving Best Practice
    • Assist 911WF in follow up implementation of the BluePrint for 911 Wellness in the Next Generation PSAP, including identifying needed policy development to achieve the BluePrint and engaging appropriate public and private sector 911 stakeholders to accomplish this objective.
    • Request all NENA Working Group Chair-persons to consider as a part of their working group policy development protocol any potential impacts of their proposed Standard on 911 workplace stress.
  4. Intervention:
    • Support the 911WF Registry of EMDR Clinicians for 911 by actively encouraging NENA Members/PSAP leaders to welcome EMDR clinicians in establishing local relationships.
    • Join with 911WF in assessing current levels of utilization of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) by NENA member PSAPs, the perceived value of these EAPs, and considering establishment an evidence-based NENA Standard defining the elements of effective EAPs. Utilize NENA media and conference platforms to promote this Standard.
  5. Actively identify and refer subject matter experts to participate in the 911WF CoSME or other 911WF initiatives as deemed beneficial.
  6. NENA shall use its resources in support of these activities at its discretion.”

FOOTNOTES (as appeared in the MOU)

[1]Roberta Mary Troxell, 2008. Indirect Exposure to the Trauma of Others: The Experience of 911 Telecommunicators. University of Illinois at Chicago. Troxell reported that 16.3% of those dispatchers surveyed showed signs consistent with Secondary Traumatic Stress (which includes features of traumatization and “burnout”). Based on her study of 497 Illinois 911 telecommunicators, Troxell also concluded “…in contrast to popular belief, the data confirm that not only can those in helping roles be affected by traumatic information whether physically on the scene or not, but also that they can be affected to the same degree. Physical distance does not protect them.”

[2] Lilly, M., Pearce, H. (2012). Duty-related trauma exposure in 911 telecommunicators: Considering the risk for posttraumatic stress. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 25, 211–215. Michelle Lilly and former telecommunicator Heather Pearce found that as much as 9-10% of telecommunicators reported symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder using clinical cut-off scores. For media coverage of these findings see also http://www.niutoday.info/2012/03/29/niu-psychology-study-links-9-1-1-dispatchers-with-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-symptoms/, last accessed 9.20.12.

[3] J. Marshall has maintained ongoing communication with M. Lilly since publication of the 2012 study, and urged pursuit of a second study predicting potential impacts of NG911 stimuli experienced in call-taking and dispatch (study now underway). NENA hosted a webinar conducted by Dr. Lilly, Research With 9-1-1 TCs: Assessing the Extent of Adverse Health & Identifying Predictors aired on August 28, 2013. Lilly currently volunteers on the NENA Workload Working Group along with J. Marshall. 911WF Both NENA and 911WF have also assisted Dr. Lilly’s current research by recruiting subjects for two studies on 911 health impacts.

[4] These initiatives include: invited publication of several articles in NENA’s journals; prioritizing and delivering a webinar on 911 stress solutions; many presentations on stress and wellness at annual state and national conferences; and, formation of the Working Group on 911 Stress leading to recent approval of NENA’s 911 Standard on Acute, Chronic and Traumatic Stress (August, 2013).

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911WF and the Texas Chapter of NENA Also Establish Official Alliance  

By Jim Marshall, 911WF Chair/CEO, July 7, 2014

Just days following the establishment of the Memorandum of Understanding between 911WF and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), Texas NENA Chapter President Toni Dunne and her state board of directors proposed and approved an MOU with 911WF. The MOU signed by representatives of both groups on July 3 is the first of its kind between 911WF and a state chapter of a national 911 organization. Ms. Dunne stated her desire for 911 Professionals from her state to enjoy the benefits of their Chapter’s invested partnership with the Foundation.

And greater  involvement of 911 center leaders and their personnel in active pursuit of wellness will certainly boost their work performance and help preserve their personal quality of life. Helping PSAPs achieve both these outcomes is at the core of the Foundation’s mission.  Now, 911WF will walk along side Texas NENA and their telecommunicators, assisting with resources to succeed in their wellness work.

The Memorandum details the collaborative activities that 911WF and the Texas NENA Chapter (TNC) will pursue including the following (excerpted from the document):

A. 911WF will, to the best of its ability:

  • Encourage Texas 911 Professionals to join, actively participate in and volunteer to support TNC
  • Provide presentations at annual TNC/APCO conferences focusing on 911 wellness, resilience, and mental health
  • Collaborate with TNC in delivering other educational services to its membership, such as webinars, newsletter articles fostering 911 resilience health-driven performance

B. TNC will, to the best of its ability:

  • Inform its members about the 911WF and encourage their participation in 911WF activities
  • Facilitate 911WF efforts to educate Texas 911 stakeholders about the NENA Standard on Acute, Traumatic and Chronic Stress and encourage PSAP implementation of the Standard
  • Update 911WF on progress in implementation of NG911 and encourage 911WF contributions to support optimal psychological adaptation in support of successful state roll-out of NG911.”

Congratulations Texas! If you are interested in pursing an alliance between your state or national organization and the 911 Wellness Foundation to foster optimal well-being of our 911 telecommunicators, please write to Jim Marshall via email: 911Wellness@live.com.


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