Since our last issue was released in early January 2021, we have moved into a new stage of the COVID-19 pandemic—one of great promise, but also new dangers. It has been said by numerous epidemiological experts that we are now in a race to vaccinate enough of the population to stem the disease spread, before new and more potent virus variants threaten to ravage the world. Weathering more than a year of this pandemic makes it truly remarkable that so many dispatch agencies continue to perform at such a high level. It is you, the emergency dispatchers, the public safety responders, and healthcare professionals that continue to shine as the true champions who will ultimately defeat this crisis.
Speaking of champions, our first research piece in this issue explores the role of ACE Champions within an agency, and how those persons can influence the organization’s induction as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE)—the highest performance goal an emergency dispatch agency can achieve. Another study from a European system looks at emergency dispatcher performance from a different lens—specifically how consecutive hours worked may affect it. Yet a third paper, done by several professors at the University of Washington School of Public Health, adds more to the growing body of research on dispatcher stress that has been presented in this journal. Their research even suggests several promising interventions that could provide some protection from the deleterious effects of the occupational stress that we now know to be a considerable hazard in the emergency dispatch profession.
Finally, in our Research Spotlight, we introduce a prolific and enthusiastic researcher from Italy whose piece in this issue of AEDR is not his first. He reminds us that our professional goals and performance challenges clearly are global—hence we can all learn from each other when we embrace scientific inquiry through sound research and collegial circulation of our work.