International Control Room Week, a campaign that celebrates and raises awareness of the vital role played by control room teams dealing with traumatic and distressing situations on a daily basis, will return for a second year and will take place on 21-27 October.

According to its organiser, APD, last year’s campaign saw more than 200 control rooms and more than 10,000 personnel from police, ambulance, fire and coastguard services across the UK get involved, as well as control rooms from as far afield as the United States, Australia and India.

Rhiannon Beeson, APD’s commercial director, said: “Last year’s campaign was absolutely tremendous and we were overwhelmed with the support for control room employees across the UK and around the world.

“The campaign is all about thanking the incredible unsung heroes, who are often the first point of contact in really challenging situations and showing them how much we appreciate their vital role in keeping people safe and secure.

“This year we want International Control Room Week to be even bigger and better, so we’re urging more emergency services and critical control organisations to sign up and get involved.”

As part of last year’s campaign, APD donated £5,000 – split between mental health charities Mind and Scotland’s Association for Mental Health. APD will raise money again for mental health charities as part of this year’s initiative.

Beeson added: “Recent studies show that control rooms up and down the country are dealing with record levels of phone calls from members of the public suffering with poor mental health. By raising money for mental health charities we can help the people working within the control room and also the people contacting the emergency services.

“APD will be donating to the two great mental health charities each time the #unsungheroes hashtag is used during International Control Room Week.

“We want this campaign to really inspire and encourage control room staff everywhere and show them how much their work is appreciated.”

In response to some of the dozens of photos that were shared on social media in response to last year’s event, APD has added two light-hearted photo competitions to run alongside the event. Winners of the “Best Dressed Control Room” will be rewarded with a pizza drop while the winner of the “Best Emergency Services Dog” photo will claim a VIP doggy bag.

APD supplies software to the emergency services, public safety and control room markets. It provides mission critical communications and control solutions used by more than two thirds of UK police forces as well as major transportation hubs and airports, including Gatwick and Dubai international airports and the London Underground.

Author: Sam Fenwick