Honoring 911 Dispatchers As JASCO Emergency Services is Short S - KOAM TV 7

Honoring 911 Dispatchers As JASCO Emergency Services is Short Staffed



 This week is National Public Safety and 9-1-1 Telecommunicators Week.
     Few people truly understand how stressful a dispatcher's job can be.
 and the lifesaving difference they can make.
"Is it arcing or sparking?" Patricia Lafever took  a call of an electrical line down. The Jasper county emergency services  dispatcher has delivered babies and been on the line as a lifesaver.  Becky Westhoff was once on the other end of the phone line calling for help when her  husband at age thirty-nine suffered a widow maker heart attack.

Becky said that Patricia, "Saved his life. They wouldn
t have been able to bring him back, if there hadnt been the chest compressions  that she was talking  me through to keep blood flowing. Cause his heart had stopped.  Everything had stopped.  If she hadnt talked me through that, he wouldnt be here today."

Patricia explained,  "When I realized her husband had collapsed on the floor,  it was, our training kicks in.
She guided Becky through CPR.
Becky said,
She kept  counting with  me. When I would get  scared and kind of  stop, she was calm."

Patricia says they rarely know the outcome of emergency calls for help which takes an emotional toll.

As we visited another dispatcher took a 911 call, "I need you to separate yourself from him and go in another room.  Has it been physical at all?
asked the dispatcher while another can be heard saying, Jasco Carthage units, I have domestic in progress."

Dispatchers regularly  jump in to help each other dispatch emergency responders.  They ask lots of questions.

JasCo executive director April Ford explained that
s, "To determine if the caller is safe or if they can get to safety.  And then if our field units  who are responding to the scene are gonna be safe whenever they get on scene."

The dispatch center is actually  currently hiring and has one person in training.  It can be difficult to keep it fully staffed because  it
s a stressful job.

Patricia said,  "Especially when the calls are children. I've done CPR  on multiple children and those are always the hardest.  Sometimes
 when we're telling the caller to take a breath, sometimes that
s for us too. We have to  really keep it together for their sake cause if we cant stay calm,  they cant stay calm."

Ford added,  "The job is heavy on multi-tasking.  It
s really important that people can type and talk at the same time  and type and listen at the same time."
 Besides lots of testing, candidates undergo extreme background  checks since they have access to public safety agency data.

Becky hopes everyone appreciates  911 dispatchers, whom she now  considers friends. She said, "It
s a lifelong relationship.  Its not just a moment in time,  it made that kind of a difference."

     Area police and ems crews have been delivering food in support of the dispatchers.
     if you think you'd like to be one. You can apply by clicking here.

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