Celebrated annually, this week honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment and render life-saving assistance to our nation's citizens.
Usually behind the scenes, dispatchers are the first ones in contact with people needing help. They are often overlooked as being essential in the rescue process. Yet they contribute greatly to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires and treatment of patients.
The staff at the Putnam County Emergency Operations Center processed over 24,000 emergency 911 calls last year and performed over 30,000 dispatches for responding agencies on those calls.
Dispatchers serve the police, fire, EMS, sheriff and highway patrol.
They command radio channels, monitor computers, talk people through all kinds of situations, remember everything and forget nothing.
The hours they work are long and the pay is not always great. They work long shifts and over holidays. They are expected to know what a police officer knows without the same training. They are law resources without the law degree.
In the proclamation signed by the commissioners they state, "The safety of our deputy sheriffs, police officers, firefighters and paramedics is dependent upon the quality and accuracy of information obtained from citizens who telephone central dispatch."
It goes on to say, "Dispatchers are the single vital link for our law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics by monitoring their activities by radio, providing them information and insuring their safety."
The proclamation ends "in honoring the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our county and citizens safe."