I have worked as a 911 communications dispatcher since 1993. We are a rural Iowa community and in 1993 did not even have 911 addressing in place. The evolution of this job has been amazing, exciting and every growing. The technology available today to assist with public safety is amazing. We are a single dispatch center that services Delaware County Sheriff, Manchester Police Dept, eleven Fire Departments, eleven First Responder units and five Ambulance departments… we are it. We take the calls, dispatch the calls, record the times and greet the public. We are emergency medical dispatchers that do all the pre-arrival care until we can get responders on scene. We run on a skeleton staff but we make it work. We all pull together to make sure we get shifts covered yet everyone gets off for the important events in their private life.
I am preparing to retire in June after 26 years plus in this profession and am very confident in the staff that is going to carry on the baton. There are always discussions on veterans vs newbies / young vs old / baby boomers vs millennials – but not at our center. We are blessed to have found the best. The younger generation that is taking over is rock star. This will be my last National Telecommunicator Week to celebrate with my co-workers.
We have never been a center to “toot” our own horn but we have proudly represented our profession by relating to our community. We have dispatchers enter into all our small town parades, we do presentations at elderly fairs and child fairs, we attend our county fire meetings and the county ems meetings – we communicate. We have not used this week to celebrate us but to educate and showcase to the community our proud profession. We do education spots on the radio, we give tours of our center and we invite in our fire and ems departments to visit the center. We are not big but we are mighty and proud.