NENA 2021 is fast approaching! This year's conference is being held in Columbus, Ohio, July 24th - 29th. Whether you're a new TC or new to NENA, here's a crash course on what they're all about. Special thanks to Chris Nussman and Bruce Romero for making this blog happen!
By: Chris Nussman, NENA Communications Director
Who NENA Is & Why Membership Matters Now More Than Ever
NENA: The 9-1-1 Association serves North America’s 9-1-1 professionals, as well as emergency-communications practitioners worldwide, as the only non-profit professional organization solely focused on 91-1- policy, technology, operations, and education issues.
NENA represents tens of thousands of hard-working 9-1-1 first responders across the continent who assist individuals in crisis and play a vital role in almost every emergency situation. These unsung heroes of public safety are directly involved in improving all aspects of 9-1-1 and in keeping our communities strong, safe, and vibrant. Through our collective efforts, NENA strives to protect human life, preserve property, and make our world a safer place.
NENA ensures that 9-1-1 is prepared to meet the needs of all people making requests for assistance by developing standards and resources for 9-1-1 systems and operations; providing education, training, and certifications for 9-1-1 professionals; informing policymakers about issues facing 9-1-1; and educating the public about 9-1-1 systems, their importance, and their proper uses.
So, what does all that mean practically for today’s 9-1-1 professionals?
NENA is our professional organization, providing us with the knowledge and tools for career development and allowing us to participate in initiatives that shape the future of 9-1-1. NENA membership has benefitted me professionally in so many ways. Because of my Emergency Number Professional (ENP) certification through NENA, as well as my completion of the Center Manager Certification Program (CMCP), I was able to land an amazing job and negotiate my wages successfully.
NENA is our community and support system, keeping us informed about the latest developments from the world of emergency communications and serving as an always-on resource for all our questions. Through NENA and their incredible conferences, I have built a vast network of colleagues – some have become amazing friends… and they are from all over the world!
NENA is our public-policy voice, advocating for our interests in Washington, DC and in statehouses across the nation. Since attending my first 9-1-1 Goes to Washington event and learning how to effectively engage decision makers, I have become very active in legislative and regulatory efforts; alongside my fellow 9-1-1 advocates in Colorado, I’ve been able to successfully get legislation passed, changed, or killed in in my home state.
Why is NENA membership so important and valuable, especially in today’s pandemic climate?
The past year has shown us all how important community is. Being a NENA member connects you to the pulse of 9-1-1 for the tools you need to grow, succeed, and overcome every challenge.
In the last twelve months, we’ve all experienced a seismic shift in our personal and professional lives. Through it all NENA remains member driven and member focused. Whether it’s providing pandemic resources, delivering virtual classes and conferences, or launching ways for our members to connect with your peers and colleagues online, helping members achieve their goals is NENA’s first priority.
Joining NENA makes you part of a community of 9-1-1 professionals dedicated to supporting one another and devoted to setting the standard for excellence in our industry. More than 17,000 of our 9-1-1 friends and peers get so much out of NENA. Standing with them helps you thrive, empowers you to achieve your goals, and saves you money.
Here are a few more of my favorite examples of how being a NENA member benefits me and my team:
Waived registration fees for NENA’s monthly #WebinarWednesday series that provides practical takeaways everyone in the center can use – I frequently watch these for quick and easy training opportunities, share them with others, and utilize the large library of on-demand webinars for additional professional development.
Membership in your local chapter to help you build your professional network – The connections I’ve made across my state (and beyond) have been invaluable to me both on the job and in my personal life.
Reduced rates for NENA’s career-advancing in-person and online courses that are widely regarded as the best in the industry – Without the courses and conferences offered by NENA I would not have been nearly as successful in my career.
Exclusive access to NENA’s online member communities – NENA’s SocialLink allows for easy interactions with my fellow 9-1-1 professionals; I know that answers to my questions are never more than a click away.
Participation in standards development – As a volunteer-based association, NENA depends on its members to help address critical 9-1-1 issues. I’ve relished the opportunity to work alongside my peers to define how 9-1-1 should work and help shape the future of our industry.
Prioritization of issues that are important to the membership – The motto of “member driven and member focused” isn’t just lip service. Whether it’s creating the #NENAContinuum wellness-resources portal to help curb the epidemic of stress-related illnesses in our community or pushing for the reclassification of telecommunicators as a “protective service” occupation, NENA is always focused on doing what is best for the 9-1-1 family.
As you can see, NENA membership is about so much more than just getting another card for your wallet. Being a NENA member has allowed me to connect, grow, and thrive in ways that I never would have dreamed of when I first became a member more than twenty years ago! So much has changed since then, but one thing has remained constant – I renew my membership every year and get so much more out of it than I could ever repay.
My story is not unique; tens of thousands of 9-1-1 professionals have benefited from membership in NENA and you can, too! Visit nena.org/join to sign up today. If you have any questions about the association or membership, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach out to Member Services Director, Bri Robinson, at email@example.com.
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