911 dispatchers: 'The team behind the scenes'
James Washington and Melissa Ammons, E-911 dispatchers for Fort Rucker DPS, in the E-911 center.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 11, 2013) -- The nation's 911 dispatchers, collectively known as the team behind the scenes, have one of the most valuable and underappreciated jobs in America.

The emergency dispatcher -- the person who calmly and coolly handles dozens of 911 calls per day and coordinates the emergency responses with emergency services personnel -- saves lives, protects property and helps others.

The week of April 14-20 is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. It is a time when citizens can thank the public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls, and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment to help them during times of crisis.

Americans can show gratitude to 911 call takers, 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 them during emergencies.

America's public safety telecommunicators serve our citizens daily in countless ways. The work of these unseen first responders is invaluable in emergency situations, and each of these dedicated men and women deserves our heartfelt appreciation.

This week is a time for a grateful Nation to show its appreciation and to recognize that our health, safety, and well-being are often dependent on the commitment and steadfast devotion of public safety telecommunicators.

Dispatchers have existed for about as long as the phone has, although they used to be called switchboard operators and connected all calls -- not just emergency ones. At that time, operators were often the ones who found the best emergency support, provided additional contact information and even set off the town fire alarm.

Dispatchers continue to adapt to new circumstances, implement new technologies and save countless lives. Today, they are the first line of defense between a frantic population and imminent disaster.

During the week, the Fort Rucker Public Safety E-911 Center will be open for tours and an opportunity to meet the people behind the scenes. This is a good opportunity for the public, young and old alike, and groups, to show their appreciation to those heroes behind the scenes. During this week, children can pick up a coloring book to help learn more about proper use of E-911 and see firsthand how 911 calls are handled.

The Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety is located in Bldg. 5001, at the intersection of Andrews Avenue and Lucky Star Street. It will be easy to find, just look for the fire trucks.

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, DPS would like to offer special appreciation to our E-911 dispatchers: Carol Penn, Melissa Ammons, Dorothy Pauls, Johanna Howell, M. Ward, Robert Bedford, James Washington, David Wilson and Justin Weaver for jobs well done.

Page last updated Thu April 11th, 2013 at 00:00