We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Estimated reading time: 23 minute(s)



Z-Wire has taken a bit of a hiatus from our regular schedule. When we launched Z-wire last year, our goal was to bring innovative, thought provoking and insightful content to our mission critical communications markets, and it’s been off to a great start.

Then came COVID-19.

Z-Wire, much like the rest of the world, has been operating on a modified schedule these days. While we still have great content scheduled for the rest of 2020, many of the topics we planned to cover, while timely and important in the “normal” world of mission critical communications, quickly became a bit lower in priority given our “new normal.” As such, we’ve re-aligned our recent focus to provide our worldwide employees, partners, customers, and markets with more presently pertinent updates and information in the midst of COVID-19.

Some of that communication has come from Zetron’s President and CEO, Brent Dippie by way of the Coronavirus Public Notice page we created for these specific updates. As noted in the latest update on April 24th, we’re finally beginning to see glimmers of hope for a gradual return to normalcy along with any short and long term adjustments to what normal will look like in the wake of this pandemic.

So, while our ‘regularly scheduled programming’ and more importantly, life as we once knew it before the Coronavirus, will soon hopefully begin to return to “normal,” today we’ll leverage Z-Wire to summarize and share some of the useful information we’ve been providing to customers, partners and employees regarding the elephant that’s still very much in the room.

Keep On Keeping On

First and foremost, Zetron and many of our partners provide valuable tools and resources to agencies and organizations in the public safety, transportation, healthcare and other critical sectors that are both on the front lines, as well as some of the hardest hit so far. So we’ve made it our chief responsibility to maintain continuity and reliability within our business to prevent disruptions or outages to the vital services provided by our customers battling the pandemic.

Since Zetron supplies public safety and other critical infrastructure agencies around the world, we’re classified as an “essential business” to support our mission critical customers. So making numerous temporary changes to how we operate in order to sustain the health and safety of our team and the integrity of our business operations so as to avoid any negative impacts to customer support has been the most important thing we can do since this began. And it still remains our top priority.

Adjusting to New Workplace Guidelines

As pandemic conditions have evolved, many of our customers have contacted us specifically about our emergency, temporary, and/or remote call handling and dispatch workstation capabilities for mission critical communications systems in order to better enforce workplace social distancing requirements and/or prop up contingency workstations in non-traditional locations to accommodate reduced, temporary, or contingent staffing and operational needs. We’ve since created a way, specifically for communication centers (Zetron customers or not) to get in touch with us regarding their emergency needs or anticipated longer term needs for more versatile, mobile and/or remote dispatch and workstation needs.

Let’s Keep It Clean

Needless to say, an even more tactical and immediate concern for all communications centers has been to keep their existing shared systems and working environments clean and safe. For that reason, we published a guide for Sanitizing Zetron Equipment, including best practices and tips for how to properly disinfect and keep workstations sanitary, as well as what cleaning products to use to ensure effectiveness, and which products should not be used.

No He Said She Said

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, misinformation and clickbait headlines have prevailed throughout the Coronavirus crisis and there has been no shortage of questionable coverage at best. Despite this, there have also been many credible, reliable and relevant resources published with useful information, tips, best practices and findings related to the crisis that have a direct impact or domain relevance to Zetron customers.

Here are a few we found to be trustworthy:

‣ The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Coronavirus Resources page has a number of useful resources for those in Emergency Response, including 9-1-1 & COVID-19: A Report on PSAPs During the Pandemic and a variety of other COVID-related online resources categorized by topic area.

‣ The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International has created a webpage dedicated to aiding APCO members in learning more about COVID-19 and how agencies can prepare, with topical webinars and published recommendations from a variety of sources, including the CDC, WHO and FEMA.

‣ The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) in association with the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) have published a COVID-19 Policy Guidance Checklist for EMS Agencies.

‣ The Collaborative Coalition for International Public Safety (CC:IPS) released a Global Recommendations for Emergency Services Organisations to Manage the Outbreak of COVID-19 guide.

‣ The National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) have created a webpage including guidance for PSAPs with regards to handling inquiries and responding to patients with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, and for keeping first responders safe.

‣ The European Emergency Number Association (EENA) has created a webpage containing a selection of documents, lessons learnt, guidelines and more that can help support the work of emergency services.

‣ ITS America has published a COVID-19 response report reviewing governmental resources for transportation agencies.

Help (& Recovery) Is On the Way

We are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Governments worldwide are engaging to provide critical funding and assistance to public/private businesses and individuals for enduring, overcoming, and ultimately recovering from the pandemic. In the U.S. alone, a $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package, followed more recently by a $480 million business relief package, have been passed by the federal government to help people and businesses weather the storm.

There is also the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program. A grant being offered by the US Department of Justice to state and local governments to specifically help in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the Coronavirus. Necessary upgrades, expansions, or additions to public safety technologies, including the mission critical communications solutions provided by Zetron and its authorized partners, are eligible for CESF grant awards.

Going forward, we expect this to be just the beginning of what will be continued aggressive actions by federal governments worldwide to fuel recovery. Positive signs we’re on our way to getting to the other side of this.

Many Zetron customers in public safety, transportation, utilities, healthcare and correctional institutions are now successfully advancing from merely navigating the pandemic, to looking forward and making plans to more permanently implement the many short term contingency modifications made in light of it (e.g., workstation distancing, remote capabilities, back-up capacity, etc.) for the long term. These measures will help us be better prepared for future emergencies, public health or otherwise.

So if your organization is currently considering communications mobility, temporary workstations, overflow/queue management, remote operations or other new necessities to make your center more versatile and prepared, whether Zetron solutions can be part of the plan or not, we are here to help.

Finally, especially to those who have courageously and tirelessly stood strong on the front lines of this from the beginning, we thank you. The everyday heroes and first responders in emergency communications centers around the world that Zetron is fortunate to serve day in and day out, are always there to unwavering and marvelously answer the call for all of us, even through the darkest days. We need to continue to recognize and honor their heroics.

If we can help, please let us know. Visit our Contact page for general inquiries or simply email us at customercare@zetron.com and we’ll connect you with the resources and/or assistance needed. Technical support for our customers remains available 24x7x365 as always, simply visit https://www.zetron.com/sales-support/#support.

Try to stay safe, strong, patient, kind, and optimistic. We will get to the other side of this soon.

By: Jim Shulkin

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