CLEARFIELD – Clearfield 911 dispatchers are the “unsung heroes” who are behind the scenes taking emergency calls around-the-clock.
Their voices are the first heard by citizens who are in need of help due to medical emergencies, accidents and fires as well as crimes in progress.
On Tuesday the Clearfield County Commissioners proclaimed April 8-14 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week at the request of Emergency Management Director Joe Bigar and 911 Coordinator Jeremy Ruffner.
Bigar said the county’s 911 dispatchers are responding to calls for help when others are spending time with families and celebrating holidays.
“They are there talking people through the protocol to deliver a baby and CPR,” he said. To that, Ruffner added the county’s dispatchers are highly trained and do a really wonderful job.
Bigar and Ruffner also spoke about how the role of dispatchers has evolved significantly over the years. They said they are no longer just taking a call and dispatching fire, EMS or police.
Bigar said they are asking a lot more questions and remaining on the line longer, so that they can prepare first responders the best they can.
“They are trained to do more, they are trained to save lives,” Ruffner said. For example, he said there was a call for a baby who was clearly choking.
The caller was talked through the proper protocol and then the dispatcher heard the sound of the baby’s cries in the background.
Ruffner said there are frequent calls for crimes in progress and the caller cannot always let on that they are making a call for help.
He said through a “dispatcher’s intuition,” they know to ask a series of yes or no questions to get to the root of the emergency.
The commissioners acknowledged that the county’s dispatchers are vital to public safety while also bringing a sense of calmness and reassurance to those in need of help.