April 14-20 is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. It is designated as a time when citizens can thank public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment during times of crisis. Americans can show gratitude to 9-1-1 calltakers, dispatchers, technicians that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, communications staff trainers, communications center personnel, and other public safety telecommunications staff across the country who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to help you during emergencies.
Logan County has one of the best Emergency Communications Centers (ECC) in the state. At one time, when Logan’s ECC became fully equipped with the most state-of-the-art technology, others in Kentucky were looking to Logan in envy.
The community relies on the ECC much more than they realize. It is the brain center for all emergency service agencies, the connector for anyone who tries to get help. Rather it be an ambulance, law enforcement, fire department, search & rescue, Chaplin, or animal control, the ECC is there. Every emergency call (9-1-1) that comes into the ECC is handled by caring and dedicated individuals called dispatchers.
Most of the time, callers only hear the voices of these heroes, who not only send help and keep people calm, but they comfort callers during a very stressful time in their lives. There are faces to every voice, lives of people who get up and come into very long shifts to help others. During Telecommunications Week, the N-D&L wishes to highlight the dispatchers at the Logan County Emergency Communications Center and honor their commitment, and the job they do for all citizens of Logan County.
There are 11 dispatchers at the Logan ECC- Ginger Lawrence, who serves as director, Marsha Bailey, who serves as assistant director and Christy White, Lauren Williams, Susan Craig, Ashley McElveen, Brittney Tatum, Amanda Jones, Destiney Reneer, Dylan Greer and Elyse Brooks.
Each one of these ECC employees express that it is more than a job to them being a dispatcher. It is a mission. Their wish is to make a difference, to save a life, and to be able to help someone in need.
“Being a 911 dispatcher, gives me the opportunity to offer the community I grew up in the kind of care and compassion that I would want for my family in a time of crisis. Regardless of the call, my co-workers and I handle each call with urgency, determined to get our caller or responder the help that they need. I have the opportunity to work with extraordinary people that care about helping the citizens of Logan County as much as I do,” said Christy White.
Elyse Brooks has been a dispatcher in Logan County for the past 10 years. “To be a dispatcher you have to have a love for the job, and a respect for the community. We as dispatchers are tools the community uses to save lives and detour crime. When someone calls 911 they have an emergency to them and we have to treat them all the same. We play Russian roulette every time we answer the phone, because you truly don’t know what the situation will be on the other end. I love the job because I love being able to help people. Sometimes you have to explain CPR, sometimes you’re hearing a person’s last breath, sometimes it’s a child who can’t find their mother. In any call we are the true first responders, the main link between the person who needs help and the person who can provide that help. Working in the dispatch center is exciting and rewarding when you know you played a vital part in saving a life,” said Brooks.
“I’m very proud to be involved in such an important aspect of our emergency services agencies. As dispatchers, we know if a person calls 911, they are having a true emergency and expect us to get them help asap. It may not be my family calling, but it’s someone’s mother, father, child, etc. that needs help, and I treat them like I would want my family member to be treated. Some calls are much harder to forget than others, some calls you will never forget, and often wonder how that family is doing from time to time. When we disconnect from the 911 call, that’s the end for us, not having closure on some calls is probably the hardest part of the job. My coworkers are like family; they are always willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to be a team player. They will never know how much they mean to me,” said Bailey.
“As dispatchers we are often asked “what is the funniest or scariest call” we have taken. It’s rare to be asked what we like about our job, or why we do it. Some days are long and there are calls that bother even the most seasoned of us. Every day we come to work prepared and trained to take a wide variety of calls. There are times that we are screamed at, cussed and made to put other responders in dangerous situations. Those things make the job hard at times, but I am surrounded by the best coworkers. We laugh, cry, take care of and rely on one another. That is the best aspect of my job. As for why I do it, I know that no day is ever going to be the same, and in some way, I am going to help someone,” said Craig.
“I enjoy being a telecommunicator, because I love not knowing what’s going to happen next. I have been around the field my entire life. It’s a great feeling knowing you are there when the community needs you most! I’m thankful to have the opportunity to work in Logan County and to have such great coworkers,” said Reneer.
“Everyday is something new or different; it’s what drew me in to working here at the ECC. In the 3 years I’ve been here, it’s been something new every day. I couldn’t ask for better co-workers either. It’s almost like coming to work with family. I hope the next 3 years go by as fast and fun as the last,” said McElveen.
“I have just recently started working for the ECC. I’m still going through the training process, everyone is very helpful. I enjoy working for the ECC and being able to help people who need it,” said Greer.
“What I like most about being a telecommunicator is being able to help people, we talk to them when they need someone the most. It’s a great feeling when you can say that you are the one that got them the help they needed. I also love working with all of the law enforcement, EMS and fire departments. Working at ECC has been the best job I ever had, I can actually say I love my job and all the people I work with. I look forward to going in everyday,” said Jones.
These are among the men and women who play an intricate part in our community. You can see through their words just how much they love their community, and how helping that community is of the utmost importance in their lives. These are the men and women we want behind the dispatch center, picking up that telephone and answering our calls for help. Thank all of you for your care, concern and dedication.