National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is April 14 - 20. Telecommunicators Week was conceived in 1981 to honor public safety telecommunicators, also known as dispatchers.
In October 1991, Congress issued a formal proclamation designating the second full week in April as National Telecommunicators Week.
The City of Stevens Point currently has eight dispatchers. Dispatchers answer 9-1-1 and non-emergency phone calls and send out the appropriate police, fire, and emergency medical service resources. Dispatchers are trained to provide life-saving instructions to assist callers while emergency response personnel are en route. They provide a vital service to city residents and the Police and Fire Departments.
Stevens Point dispatchers. Back Row, Left to Right: Roxanne Jester, Virginia Konop, Sharon Anderson, Julie Lampert Front Row, Left to Right: Nicole Schlice, Megan Kropidlowski, Jodi Stoik Absent: Melissa Pitcher
Virginia (Ginger) Konop has been a dispatcher with the City of Stevens Point for 26 years. She said, “I just like everything about my job. It’s never boring and I’m constantly learning. Plus there’s a family atmosphere in the work place.” Konop will be retiring next month. She has served as a Communications Training Officer for the City Dispatch Center, and has trained all of the dispatchers who currently work for the City of Stevens Point.
Additionally, the National 9-1-1 Education Coalition has designated April as National 9-1-1 Education Month and has selected “Be 9-1-1 Ready” as the 2013 campaign theme.
Here are a few 9-1-1 tips from Coalition:
• Knowing when to call and what to expect when you phone 9-1-1 can help reduce fear and feelings of helplessness in an emergency.
• Call 9-1-1 for emergencies only. It is appropriate to call 9-1-1 when you need to save a life, stop a crime or report a fire.• Try to stay calm, listen carefully, give information and follow all instructions.
• The call taker may not automatically know your location or may ask you to confirm it.• Lock your keypad when you’re not using your phone, so 9-1-1 isn’t dialed by mistake. For the same reason, don’t put 9-1-1 on speed dial.
• Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still call 9-1-1.• If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the receiver that you do not have an emergency.