From Guiding Medical Actions over the Phone to Coordinating Massive Life Saving Rescue Operations, America’s Telecommunicators Are the Unsung Heroes of Emergency Response
March 25, 2014 – A drug overdose, heart attack, hostage situation, house fire, campus shooting, seizure and burglary. These are just some of incidents that 9-1-1 telecommunicators have responded to, and are now being recognized for, as voting opens in the fourth annual Smart Telecommunicator Awards.
For the past several weeks, 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers (telecommunicators) in the United States have been nominated by their colleagues and citizens for the fourth annual Smart Telecommunicator Awards. Today Smart911, announced online voting is now open for the 40 finalists who have demonstrated leadership, performance, compassion for callers, ability to inspire co-workers and overall contributions to their Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).
The public can now review the finalist submissions and vote online at www.smart911.com/sta through April 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm EDT. Smart911 will name a national winner and four regional honorees during National Public Safety Telecommunication Week (April 12-18). The national winner will receive $1,000 to be donated to the charity of their choosing, while the regional honorees will receive $500 to be given to charity of their choice.
This year’s nominees once again illustrate the crucial services that 9-1-1 telecommunicators provide, their dedication and the stressful situations they encounter, including such examples as:
- A telecommunicator in Laconia, New Hampshire, received a 9-1-1 call from a woman reporting that a 68 year old male she was with was unconscious and without a pulse. The telecommunicator, in a calm and reassuring demeanor, instructed the caller to locate and attach the victim’s automated external defibrillator (AED). He guided the caller on how to administer the shocks and then CPR, until emergency medical services arrived. Because of the telecommunicator’s collected manner and thorough instructions, the victim was saved.
- In Pikeville, Tennessee, a telecommunicator received a frantic emergency call reporting that a vehicle had driven into a pond with five occupants, four of them children. Under immense pressure, the telecommunicator coordinated all aspects of the response, dispatching law enforcement, rescue personnel, volunteer fire departments, multiple ambulances and a tractor, to help get the car out of the pond. She assisted field units diligently and persistently until the situation was concluded, all the while still handling other emergency and non-emergency calls.
- In Citrus Heights, California, a telecommunicator received a 9-1-1 call which was immediately terminated. The telecommunicator called back the number and through the open line, she heard yelling and quickly realized that a highly volatile domestic violence situation was in progress. The female caller was eventually able to get on the line and provide details. The violent threats heard through the open line were from the caller’s boyfriend, who had tried to strangle her the night before. The telecommunicator jumped into action and for the next 24 minutes, engaged the caller as she hid with her three children in a bedroom and guided her as the caller lowered her kids safely to the yard below. The dispatcher’s empathy, care and performance helped create the positive outcome to this high-pressure situation.
“Telecommunicators are among our nation’s most unsung heroes. Their quick thinking, knowledge and compassion can often prove the difference between a positive outcome and a negative one,” said Tom Axbey, chief executive officer of Rave Mobile Safety. “They are the crucial first line of response in every emergency situation and through these awards, we demonstrate honoring these amazing people and their tireless efforts is of the highest importance. Everyone should please take the time to read and learn how telecommunicators directly help their communities from behind the scenes. Any response simply cannot happen without every part of the emergency team, starting with the telecommunicator who answers the 9-1-1 call.”
The Smart Telecommunicator Award was created and is sponsored by Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911, the acclaimed national public safety service, in order to highlight the critical public safety role telecommunicators play. It is conducted in partnership with the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) and the Denise Amber Lee Foundation.
Smart911 allows citizens to create a free Safety Profile online for their household that includes information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have during an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call-taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. In 2014, Smart911 was announced in 39 new locations across 17 U.S. states, making the private and secure service available to an additional 5 million citizens in their hometown, bringing the total coverage area to more than 1,000 communities across 40 states. Smart911 has been credited with positively impacting emergency situations across the U.S., including a missing child case in Arkansas, and saving lives, such as a heart attack victim in Nashville and a house fire victim in Michigan.