Editorial – Thank you to our 911 dispatchers

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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We are midway through National Telecommunicator Week, which is recognized from April 14 through April 20, and we wanted to recognize the men and women who work tirelessly in the Suffolk 911 Center.

These Emergency Dispatchers hold state certifications and constantly refine their expertise through training. They work even when we are not, covering days, evenings, midnights, weekends, holidays, and even during storms. When you’re in distress and reaching out for help, they’re the reassuring voice on the other end, connecting you with police, firefighters, or an ambulance.

They comfort a frightened child calling because someone in their home is unwell. They provide crucial guidance over the phone to those facing emergencies like cardiac arrest or respiratory distress before help arrives. Whether you’re lost in a park, involved in an accident, or detecting smoke in your home, they’re there to assist.

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They serve as vital links between emergency responders, directing them quickly to where they’re needed and ensuring their safe return after each call. They are the unseen heroes of the night, making a tangible difference every day. Witnessing their dedication, whether in moments of sadness or when lives are positively altered, is a testament to their profound impact.

What is lost on many is that they have regular lives just as we do and feel just as we do. While they do not see what is happening on the other end of the call, they often never know the outcome, so they go home wondering, hoping, and praying everything worked out for the best. For them, there is no time to dwell. As soon as they disconnect a call, another is waiting in the wings; sometimes, it is even more gut-wrenching than the last. 

They deserve more recognition than they receive. It was nice to see the City of Suffolk recognize these men and women at a recent council meeting by issuing a proclamation.

These men and women are indeed the “first” first responders, and we thank them for all they do to aid in the safety and well-being of Suffolk.