CHICKASAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – It is a week to celebrate the heroes behind the headset. National Telecommunicators Week honors those who work as 911 dispatchers.
They’re the calm voice in the middle of chaos, 911 operators play a vital role between the community, law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs.
For Nancy Utz, working as a dispatcher has one major advantage.
“Being able to help the people of Chickasaw County,” Utz said.
Utz has been a 911 dispatcher for ten years, working 12-hour shifts in a job that can change from one second to the next.
“There’s never a routine day at 911,” she said.
Utz says the job can be stressful because she personally knows many of the callers who need some type of assistance.
“When you live in a small town, every call is somebody you know, just about, or have that wife that calls and her husband is not breathing, and my child is choking, you have to disconnect from it, but at the end of the day it’s rewarding,” Utz said.
Barry Martin is the 911 Coordinator for Chickasaw County. Like Utz, he started as a dispatcher and became coordinator six years ago.
“Me personally, I feel like we are the first responders because we get the call, we decide, what the situation is, the best remedy to make it go smoother and get the job done in an adequate amount of time,” Martin said.
9 1 1 operators have to keep their certification current through continuing education classes because technology is always changing. In fact, plans call for an upgraded 9 1 1 system in Chickasaw County in the near future.
In Chickasaw County, the E-911 center is part of the sheriff’s department.