HONESDALE—According to data from the county's 911 administration, call center operators responded to a total of 23,311 emergency calls in 2017, most of which occurred during the summer months.
In addition to these, 9-1-1 dispatchers also fielded 32,644 after hours 24-hour county resource calls.
These include hotlines for county functions like child abuse and elder abuse.
In thanks for all they've done to keep residents safe, and keeping in mind they often do so unseen, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners awarded each of them a certificate of recognition on April 12.
“You are the people who connect those in need with the people who can serve their needs,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Brian Smith. “And that is critically important.”
Noting that sometimes dispatchers are forced to improvise on the spot, Smith added, “In light of the way that things don't always work as they're supposed to, you find a way to get those first responders to the people who need them the most.”
He further explained dispatchers are also crucial in implementing early stages of the rescue operation, frequently advising callers on how to start and maintain CPR while still directing emergency responders to the location.
“Many people may not realize that every holiday, every weekend, every night, every middle of the night, some of you are on duty protecting the people in our society.”
Commending the dispatchers' flexibility, Commissioner Kay noted the call center operators frequently shift from periods of low activity to high-octane emergency response, sometimes several times within one night.
“It takes a certain kind of a person to be able to, as I say, be sitting around waiting for the phone to ring one minute and then have a call come in where someone tells you that their five year old stopped breathing,” he said, adding that the dispatchers must endure the stress of the calls with a cool demeanor.
Kay further stated “Not everyone can handle that transition in their workload.”
Commissioner Joseph Adams stated in praise, “You're the front line of the face of public safety for Wayne County.
As such, Adams further stated such public recognitions for them are important because, “...you're behind the scenes all the time and it's important for the general public to know that you're the face of saving somebody's life, public safety, saving a building, stopping a fire from taking out an entire block in a town.
“It's just incredible, the service that you do for the people of our community.”