Saying thank you to dispatchers

Published 7:56 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020

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In normal circumstances, the second week of April would see proclamations and events saluting the men and women who work as emergency dispatchers across the country.

But these aren’t normal circumstances, and the COVID-19 outbreak and related shutdowns have forced municipalities and agencies to delay National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week events.

That’s a shame.

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This week, sponsored by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International, honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment t and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.

“They are the start of our response process,” Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said this week. “They keep the public informed and safe, keep the first responders safe … at this time, the light is shined on them even more.”

The telecommunications professionals are the calm voices callers hear when they dial 911. They ask the questions to help assess a situation, provide the instructions and directions to the first responders answering the call, and often stay on the line to keep callers calm and connected.

It’s said that public safety telecommunicators often answer calls on the worst day of someone’s life – a house fire, a vehicle wreck, a child in an accident – and the stress and trauma they absorb in that process weighs heavy. Yet, these professionals provide a critical link in the ability of agencies to respond to people in need. They must remain calm to pass along directions, key medical information, or situational details that can affect how first responders approach a situation.

And that is a role that warrants appreciation and praise, every day of the year.

So while Mayor Reeves said the city regrettably won’t be honoring the telecommunications employees with a proclamation and appreciation events this week, those times will come.

And they will be well-deserved.

Join us in sharing a heartfelt “thank you” to all the men and women who work so tirelessly behind the scenes as telecommunicators. They are a lifeline for our community.