HUTCHINSON, Kan. — When you call 911 for any kind of emergency, you don’t speak with police, fire, EMS or the sheriff’s department. You talk to a dispatcher who is there to coordinate which agency and what type of response you need for that emergency.
Every year during the second week of April, the telecommunications personnel in the public safety community are honored.
The center in the Reno County Law Enforcement basement is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The work can be very stressful for those workers.
What happens when you make an emergency call to 911?
“We take that information and put it into the CAD system, that is computer-aided dispatch, and then we dispatch based off the location, based off the type of emergency that it is,” Leon Boyea, the center’s assistant director, said. Boyea says they send the appropriate agency to that emergency.
Those who work in this center must respond in a calm, professional manner.
“When a call comes in here, they have zero time to process and think their policy and procedure, it’s automatic. A lot of the field units have the radio dispatch time, their drive time to get to the event to think about policies, procedures, staging, you know, how we’re going to respond. Ours is immediate. When we answer the phone, we don’t know if it’s going to be a dog barking, or a domestic, or a guy with a gun,” Michelle Abbott, dispatch center director, said. “It’s immediate, we have to react and be ready to send units.”
The week is set aside each year to honor those who work in these types of centers. These dispatchers make sure first responders get to the right location in emergency situations.