Thank a dispatcher this week

911 logoThe second full week of April is recognized each year as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, bringing well deserved attention and recognition to the public safety dispatchers who are an invaluable part of every emergency response team.

This week of recognition, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, honors the thousands of men and women nationwide who answer emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.

“Our E-911 dispatchers are an invaluable asset in our ability to assist our residents and motorists in times of need,” said Lewis County Judge Executive Todd Ruckel.

“Telecommunicators have a very difficult and very important job. Our dispatchers are a vital part of our public safety team. The work they do every day is important and I’m proud of the effort they put forth in performing their duties,” Ruckel adds.

“Our hardworking dispatchers serve as a vital link between the public and fire, medical, and law enforcement agencies,” says Sheriff Johnny Bivens.

“Our dispatchers provide a crucial service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Bivens adds. “And they do it well.”

Lewis County E-911 Coordinator Mike Sparks said a recent motor vehicle accident and the coordinated efforts afterwards exemplify the important tasks of the local E-911 dispatchers.

Sparks said as soon as dispatchers were notified of the two-vehicle accident, they radioed Porsmouth Ambulance, Black Oak Fire and Rescue, Garrison Fire and Rescue, and deputies with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department to provide them with a location and basic information about the incident.

The dispatchers continued to coordinate efforts to assist units on the scene as well as contacting medical helicopters to have them standby, should they be needed.

The dispatchers contacted wrecker services to remove the vehicles and continued to coordinate activities of the first responders until all were cleared from the scene.

Sparks said all of the information concerning each incident is entered into a local computer database that has recently been upgraded. The Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system also keeps a log of all times associated with each incident and includes information about each responder and other details associated with the incident.

“I’m proud of our dispatchers,” Sparks says. “They are professional and calm when events can dictate otherwise. They are the true first responders.”

Sparks said the local dispatch center handles more than 1,000 calls each month and dispatches police, medical, fire, or other emergency response agencies to more than 800 incidents or medical emergency calls each month.

Assuring rapid response by police, fire, and medical personnel in the midst of emergencies, the men and women who take 911 calls and send assistance are often overlooked for the critical role they play in coordinating first response and lifesaving efforts.

Telecommunicators Week began in California in 1981 and quickly grew to become a national week of recognition. In 1991 Congress officially designated the second week of each April as a time to remember the critical role that dispatchers play in keeping us all safe.

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