BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– They are there in our some of our darkest times, when we dial 911.
A 911 dispatcher answers the call, ready to provide the help we need.
The second week in April recognizes their hard work across the nation, for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
Each day, hundreds of calls are answered by dispatchers for every type of emergency.
One by one, answering the calls of distress and sending help.
“EMS runs around 40 to 60 calls a day, fire runs another 80, so we average about 150 calls in a day, and that does not include the Sheriff’s Office which probably gets another 500 calls a day,” said Brian Hardin, EMS Communications Division Chief.
Serving on the thin yellow line was an easy choice for Bay county Telecommunications Supervisor Brandi Tew who has worked in the field for 17 years.
“I’ve always liked helping people, but I never wanted to be out in the field,” she said.
In her 12-hour shift, she said the calls for help she answers vary in nature, but it’s all about being the voice of hope in the darkness for someone experiencing their most terrifying moments.
“Sometimes it’s being that person that is there to listen to someone and you let them know that what they are saying is important, other times it can be as important as talking someone and their family through CPR,” she said.
She said remaining calm through high-stake situations is one of the hardest parts of her job, but totally necessary.
“You have to file it away, and understand not you that it’s happening to, and they’re upset because it’s happening to them. You have to talk them off the ledge, and de-escalate them so you can get them to do what you need them to do,” she said.
This week, dispatchers are being recognized across the nation as the first, first responders.
“When a call starts and a call ends, it all starts in this room,” Hardin said.
And while the job can be tough, “It’s rewarding when you get off the phone knowing that you helped someone,” he said.