OKTIBBEHA/CHOCTAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Emergency dispatchers are celebrated for their service and dedication this week.
They are usually never seen, but in an emergency they can make all the difference.
Fire, police, and medical agencies depend on those men and women to handle the calls.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week highlighted those who take the role of directing emergency crews in order to get you help as quickly as possible.
When there’s an emergency, dialing 911 is the first step that could save your life.
“Often we aren’t recognized as first responders. Technically we are because we first take the initial call to send them out in the field. Just because we aren’t in the field doesn’t mean we’re not first responders. We work 365/7days a week so we’re never off, and sometimes we’re on call. We have to come in,” said Mobley.
Oktibbeha County E-911 receives about 503,000 calls a year.
Dispatchers deal with every type of emergency you can imagine. From fires to heart attacks to shootings, they hear it all.
“People come in and think we’re just answering the phone and then when they sit in that hot seat you have to multi-task. You have to be a multi-tasker ,you’re talking on the radio to those responding units. You’re giving pre-arrival instructions if you’re on the phone with the caller as well you have the phone ringing you’re relaying information to what’s going on if things are changing so you definitely have to be a multi-tasker,” said Mobley.
Just down the road in Ackerman, the set-up is smaller but the serious calls are the same.
Anita Davis is the only person on duty Wednesday.
After 18 years on the job, sometimes she knows the caller, and sometimes she knows the responder that’s being sent to a dangerous situation.
“We dispatch that call. The officer responds and a lot of the times we don’t know the outcome of that call. If we have a small child, or if we even, if it’s someone we know. Maybe not closely but if it’s somebody we know, we may never know what happens to that person,” said Davis.
While they may not always know what happens after they hang-up, they remain dedicated to keeping people safe in this stressful job.
“We keep up with them from the time. We dispatch them until the time that they go back in service,” said Davis.
These telecommunicators spend an average of 12 hours per day answering emergency calls.
A number of agencies in the area have recognized their emergency dispatchers this week.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week wraps up on Saturday.