The volunteers of Norriton Fire Engine Company are thankful for the dispatchers’ efforts and dedication to saving lives. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, is always the second full week of April, this year April 12-18, and honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and provide life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.
While the volunteers of Norriton Fire Engine Company enter burning buildings and fight fires, saving lives would not be possible without the dispatchers who obtain essential details and send Norriton firefighters to the correct location. The Montgomery County Emergency Communications Division is a Public Safety Answering Point for police, fire, emergency medical services, and emergency management services. In addition to Norriton Fire Engine Company, the center is responsible for dispatching 92 fire departments, 20 EMS squads, 50 police agencies and other Montgomery County organizations. Dispatchers have to know which agencies are needed and can call for back up if needed.
Often talking to someone experiencing one of the worst days of their lives, telecommunicators remain calm in times of distress and often help calm the person on the other line. If 911 callers are injured or trapped in a burning building, instructions from a dispatcher may be crucial to stabilizing and saving lives.
Emergency telecommunicators face different challenges depending on the time of year as well and need to be prepared for various disasters to strike. Pennsylvania often faces harsh snowstorms in the winter and summer thunderstorms can evolve quickly from nothing to a dozen calls in a few minutes.
While Montgomery County’s center is staffed with over 100 telecommunictors plus supervisors, technical staff and administrative employees, Norriton Fire Engine Company needs more volunteer firefighters to answer their calls. To learn more about opportunities available, visit www.NorritonFire.org.