The Times West Virginian

April 18, 2014

Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

Times West Virginian

— Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.

During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

No one ever calls 911 to report something good. Yet every time a call is made, there is a calm, cool and collected person there who gets the relevant information from a person in a frantic state and can get the help they need where it’s needed, whether it be police, fire or emergency medical services.

“It’s a job for someone who cares about their community and wants to make a difference,” said Chris McIntire, director of the Marion County 911 Center.

It’s a very difficult job, we have to realize. Talking to people mid-crisis and helping them through probably the worst moments of their life is stressful, to say the least. Though the county has made efforts to increase the wages of dispatchers in recent years, there’s no dollar amount that can be placed on those precious few minutes when a dispatcher evaluates a situation, collects critical details and directions, alerts the appropriate stations and sends help.

All the while staying right there on the line with the caller if need be, a calm voice as an assurance that help is on the way.

For that, we should honor them every day.

These aren’t the faces you recognize in the community, as they are a voice on the other end of the line you probably will only have the occasion to call once or twice in your lifetime. But they are there every single time you need them.

They are truly unsung heroes.

And hopefully we’re never in a situation where we need police, fire or medical services immediately. But isn’t it comforting to know that if and when you do, there will be someone there on the other end of the line to say “Marion County 911, where is your emergency?”