PROSPER – The people who answer calls with, “9-1-1, what is your emergency?” may be the last people we think of when an emergency strikes, but in reality, they provide the foundation which makes public safety work effectively, says Communications Supervisor Natalee Warren.
“Calls into the 9-1-1 center often carry life and death consequences,” she said. “The people at the other end providing the vital link for emergency assistance are known as telecommunicators, dispatchers or 9-1-1 operators. It is our job is to provide the caller with the appropriate emergency services in their time of need.”
Public safety dispatchers around the country, including those in Prosper, are being recognized during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 12-18. The recognition is sponsored by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. The Town Council will honor the dispatchers with appropriate recognition during their regular meeting.
The week is set aside annually to bring attention to the work of the public safety professionals who answer 9-1-1 calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to citizens everywhere.
“Prosper telecommunicators are trained and certified in CPR and in Emergency Medical Dispatching,” she said. “This training gives them the ability to utilize a systematized pre-arrival set of instructions that helps calm and guide the caller, and provides clear instructions to emergency personnel. We’re where it all starts.”
In a testament to the effectiveness of the training, a Prosper dispatcher was recently able to guide a caller through the steps of administering CPR until first responders arrived, giving the dispatcher the satisfaction of having assisted in bringing a positive end to a difficult situation.
Prosper established its own dispatch center in 2009, located at the south end of Town Hall, 101 S. Main Street. It is a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year operation utilizing six full-time dispatchers, one part-time, and one Dispatch Supervisor.
In addition, Prosper is a Smart911 town, offering residents the ability to create an enhanced information profile which provides additional data to dispatchers automatically. And, Verizon customers have the added ability to send text messages to 9-1-1.
“We’re often called the first first responders,” said Warren. “We’re the first ones to respond to an emergency, and we serve as that critical connection to the traditional first responders. We’re all links in the critical public safety chain.”