Dispatchers Recognized In Communicators Week - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Dispatchers Recognized In Communicators Week

They do a job that many of us don't think about,  until we have to have an emergency: 911 dispatchers.  This week is national telecommunicators week, dedicated to honoring the people who do an often thankless job.

They are the voices of reason, when emergencies happen.  "It's very stressful but it's either a job that you hate or you like and there's no in between," said Longview 911 dispatcher Victoria Wilson.

Dispatchers are the eyes and ears of police and emergency personnel.  Their job is to calmly and accurately gain information, assess any situation, and determine the dangers involved.

"We try to get any information, try to make the officers or firefighters safe once they get on scene.  People think we ask a lot of questions but we're asking questions, but we're safe behind the phones, but once you send your fire or police into the chaos you want to make sure they come out alright," Wilson says.

"You have to be able to be confident in your ability and your skills so that you can make the person on the other end of the phone fell that your confident that you know what you're doing," said Longview public safety communication manager Sally Reese.

The phones and radios never stop, and they find themselves being part therapist part investigator, part crisis intervention worker.  "If someone is hysterical you have to get their attention you have to stay on an even keeled voice to talk to them, try to keep everybody calm to tell you where they are at is the first thing," said Wilson.

They have to know maps and regions, and know who's closest to respond, even where fire hydrants are located.  "It takes a very special person to be a dispatcher you have to be able to multi-task you have to be able to work any hour of the day any day of the week be able to work life and death situations," Reese said.

It's a job that few will take,  but those who do get a lot in return.  "When people call you and say thank you or you get a letter its really rewarding," Wilson said.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.  bhallmark@kltv.com


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