NAVIGATOR Continues To Show The Way

Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer

Case Exit

NAVIGATOR is every bit and nothing like the event introduced more than a quarter century ago.

In one bucket—every bit like—the conference aims to advance the emergency dispatch profession through continuing education, research, workshops, certification courses, and the occasion to explore new applications and technology. The abundance of entertainment, recognition, and networking are woven along during the conference.

In the other bucket—nothing like—the conference continues to innovate and inspire, attracting large numbers of participants worldwide. And it’s not only a national affair. NAVIGATOR travels globally, stopping in the U.K./Ireland, Europe, the Middle East, China, Asia, and Australasia.

NAVIGATOR is a non-stop professional celebration and the ultimate Emergency Dispatcher “influencer” event. Come with us as we highlight important moments in NAVIGATOR’s long history:

1988 (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA): The Academy holds its first-ever conference, handing out EMD certificates to the 100 attendees gathered specifically for that reason. The certificates were done by hand (calligraphy) to convey a professional look with the intention to frame them.

1989 (Orlando, Florida, USA): Recognition of EMD as a vital link in the emergency medical response chain leads to the founding of the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (NAED) (forerunner to the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAED). The second annual conference represented 32 states, Canada, and Guam. Dr. Henry Heimlich is a featured speaker, and William Shatner and Arnold Shapiro receive President’s Awards for raising dispatch awareness through the TV program “Rescue 911.”

1990 (San Diego, California, USA): The conference heralds the Dawn of the Dispatch Era. Sessions are geared to tools Emergency Dispatchers can use in the field, ranging from how to fund a communication center to the challenges faced in providing EMS dispatch during natural disasters and other crises.

NAVIGATOR is put on hold for six years as the Academy accommodates the growing profession and spread of protocol worldwide.

1999 (San Antonio, Texas, USA): The conference introduces changes to version 11 of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS®) (released in 2000). The conference features 57 sessions.

2007 (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA): A partnership between the NAED and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is announced in a landmark effort to improve emergency responses to reports of missing children. NCMEC President and CEO Ernie Allen is the keynote speaker.

2008 (Baltimore, Maryland, USA): Medicine Hat 9-1-1 Regional Communications Centre in Alberta, Canada, is honored for being the first center worldwide to receive an ACE in all three disciplines (fire, police, and medical). EFD Scott W. Dunkelberger, New County Castle Emergency Communications (Delaware, USA), becomes the first EFD to receive the Dispatcher of the Year Award.

2008 (Bristol, England): NAVIGATOR offers 32 sessions tailored to the diverse needs of the U.K. EMD community. It featured the first emergency dispatch mentoring course the Academy offered.

2013 (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA): This is a big year for NAVIGATOR because the conference comes home to Salt Lake City. A few of the highlights:

  • An electronic version of the conference on-site guide developed in-house provided everything available in the hard copy guides folded into each conference bag, detailing pre-conference and conference sessions, the list of exhibitors and their contact information, and where to go for the special events.  

  • The Annals of Emergency Dispatch and Response (AEDR) is introduced as a dedicated journal for research into EMS, fire, and police emergency response, including Emergency Communication Nurse System (ECNS) response.

  • Brett Patterson (IAED Medical Council of Standards chair) receives the Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award. Vicki Maguire and Susi Marsan receive the Academy’s Emeritus Award; 25 years earlier, they were among the instructors mentored to teach EMD courses.

2014 (Orlando, Florida, USA): The conference celebrates the 35th anniversary of the protocol’s introduction to the world. More than 3,600 centers worldwide have implemented protocols since Dr. Clawson unveiled the Medical Protocol to the world in 1979 at the Salt Lake City Fire Department Comm. Center.

2014 (Wiesbaden, Germany): The sixth annual Euro NAVIGATOR conference has 23 sessions, medical and fire Instructor Recertification Workshops, and a police leadership seminar. It was the largest Euro NAVIGATOR to date, quadrupling in size from the 40 people who attended the inaugural conference in 2008.

2015 (Qingdao, Shandong Province, China): 226 IAED members participate in the NAVIGATOR conference held in China. Hulunbuir 120 Medical Emergency Command Center, Hulunbuir City, Hailar District, Inner Mongolia, China, achieved medical Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) status in September, joining Yunnan Province Emergency Center, Hangzhou Ambulance Center, Huizhou City Health and Family Planning Bureau, Qinghai Province Medical Emergency Center, Suzhou Emergency Center, and Wuxi Emergency Medical Center.

2015 (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA): Dave Massengale receives the inaugural Instructor of the Year Award, recognizing his talents and dedication in presenting EMD and EFD certification courses and mentoring new instructors. Massengale was credited with helping an estimated 18,000 Emergency Dispatchers achieve fire and medical certification.

2016 (Washington, D.C., USA): Priority Dispatch Corp. (PDC) Program Administrators Ken Hotaling and Ross Rutschman kick off the new “International” track with their co-presentation “EMD Around the World in 120 Minutes,” providing a rich cultural travelogue of centers in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., Spain, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, and others among the 46 countries where protocols are now the standard in emergency dispatch operations.

2017 (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA): The Academy offers a first-ever scholarship to NAVIGATOR for one lucky Emergency Dispatcher, and Eric Parry, former PDC Police Consultant and major proponent of the Police Priority Dispatch System (PPDS®), receives the Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award. Ricardo Martinez II, of the Within the Trenches podcast, records the stories of attendees (a much-anticipated event continued to this day).

2018 (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA): Veterans Tribute Career & Technical Academy (VTCTA) faculty member Lori Henricksen, EMD, EFD, ETC-I, introduces her team of IAED-certified Emergency Dispatchers, all of whom graduated from high school ready to go under the headset. Henricksen’s program pioneered an early start for those interested in pursuing the profession.

2019 (National Harbor, Maryland, USA): The IAED, PDC, and the American Heart Association (AHA) join forces to double survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by 2028, implementing research-based protocol, resuscitation education, and quality improvement programs to deliver high-quality CPR.

2020: The conference was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA): Jim Marshall, Director of 911 Training Institute and licensed mental health professional, discusses his dedication to Emergency Mental Health Dispatching (EMHD), a precursor to the Academy’s Protocol 41: Caller in Crisis (set for release in 2024).

2022 (Nashville, Tennessee, USA): IAED President Jerry Overton announces a new Dispatcher-Directed CPR (DD-CPR) course available on the College of Emergency Dispatch portal. The free one-hour course provides call simulations adapted to the non-visual environment. New EMDs still take the hands-on CPR course when certifying for the first time.

2023 (Denver, Colorado, USA): The numbers keep climbing, as evidenced: 165 sessions (11 tracks), 150 speakers, 1,600+ attendees from 11 countries, 50 exhibitors, and 124 ACEs and re-ACEs announced.

The NAVIGATOR 2024 theme—Monumental Milestones: Celebrating 35 Years of the Academy—celebrates the accomplishments dedicated to the emergency dispatch profession and the invaluable service they provide as a link in the chain of survival. The conference is scheduled for April 16-18 in Washington, D.C. Find out more information.