National Public Safety Telecommunicators week celebrates 911 dispatchers

WOOD COUNTY, W.Va, WASHINGTON COUNTY, OH (WTAP)- They’re the voices we hear in our worst moments.

“The kind of calls that we get are anything from somebody has maybe something stolen off their porch to their loved ones jest collapsed and we have to walk them through CPR, so you really never know what you’re going to get when you answer the phone,” says Aaron Fleenor, a shift supervisor and the public information officer for Wood County 911 Center.

The second full week in April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week where those first responders are celebrated for their dedication and service.

“You’re dealing with people on their absolute worst day and you’re the first link in their lifeline to get them the help that they need,” Fleenor explains.

“You never know what you’re going to come across. You can have slow days or you can have days that are just chaotic,” notes Tammy Miller, dispatch for Marietta Police Department.

Always acting with calm professionalism, it’s easy to forget that these dispatchers are human and hoping for the best outcome on every call.

“I’ve had a couple in my tenure that I will carry with me the rest of my life. They are particularly bad calls and bad days…dealing with them gets better, but they’ll never go away,” recalls Fleenor.

Their jobs are even further complicated by personally knowing the officers that they’re sending into possible danger.

“It just adds stress to an already stressful job, that you're sending somebody that you know personally into a potentially bad situation and we try our best to look out for each and every one of our responders,” says Fleenor.

Miller says that the key is to remember your duties in helping the caller.

“You just have to remember it’s a job, remain calm, and know that they know their job. They know what they’re doing, and let the officers know. Just give them as much information as possible.”

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week continues through April 20th.