April 8-14, 2012 is National Telecommunications Week all across the Country.

We all know how important it is to get the fire or police department to respond to your personal emergency right?  Well, it takes many to make that happen.  The first line of defense is to call 9-1-1 first and who is on the other end, but a calm and cool collected person known as the “call taker” or “dispatcher”.  He or she becomes your instant life line to getting that necessary fire or police assistance to your emergency.

As one involved in an all-volunteer organization that interfaces with the Fire Department, listening to the dispatchers making sure units are responding to each call correctly, checking on their status, helping with resources and other responsibilities associated with dispatching.  I have a true respect and admire their calmness during intense situations and the ability to be quite effective communicators.

Do you know someone who is a 9-1-1 call taker or dispatcher in the fire or police department?  Or anyone else in the dispatching field?  Tell them how much you appreciate them and what they do.  The compliment will go along way and let them know who much they are appreciated, when many take them for granted unless they are being called upon. 

Only Call 9-1-1 for legitimate reasons.  Here are some of the legitimate reasons (disclaimer:  this list does not include all that would fall under this article)

1)  Auto Accident

2)  Broken Gas Line

3)  Water flowing inside house

4)  Shooting

5)  Stabbing

6)  Criminal Activities

7)  House or building on fire

8)  Heart Attack or any other life-threatening medical emergency

You get the jist of when it is to call for help, but would constitute for NOT calling.

1)  Asking what time it is?

2)  Directions to a location, business, etc.  (They are not directory assistance)

3)  Telling them about something that is not relevant to calling 9-1-1.  (You are delaying people who are really needing emergent assistance)

You should now understand what the difference is between WHEN to CALL and NOT to CALL.  If you don’t you may want to Google information on the 9-1-1 system and what constitutes for an emergency.

THANK YOU from the bottom of our HEARTS to all DISPATCHERS and CALL TAKERS for what you do!  You are greatly appreciated!  Keep up the great work.

(c) 2012 The NW Fire Blog