Much has been done in recent years about the incredibly important role that rapid response services play in ensuring the security of our communities, and rightly so.
Sure, people always knew it, but maybe they took it for granted. But since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, showed their heroism, public gratitude for them has increased. The same was true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when police, fire and ambulance officers continued to come to work, putting their health at risk, and many of us stayed at home.
But there is an equally important component of emergency staff that is largely hidden from the public. We are talking about women and men who service 911 calls around the clock and provide rescue during emergencies. Often the emergency room dispatcher notices that the couple talks to the couple during childbirth and helps the young child in an emergency, but for the most part their heroic work goes unnoticed.
We were therefore pleased to see that a member of Governor Tom Wolf’s administration visited Berks County on Tuesday to draw attention to the thousands of telecoms at the 61st District Emergency Center.
Jeff Boyle, deputy 9-1-1 of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, led the event in Reading, paying tribute to the people who process nearly 14.5 million emergency requests in Pennsylvania each year.
The program became part of the National Week of Public Safety Telecommunications. It was designed to recognize individuals who perform these duties around the clock, while encouraging others to embark on a career path to address labor shortages in the field and take on the hard but rewarding work.
Boyle called 911 operators the most important link between those in need and emergency services provided by fire, law enforcement or ambulance services.
“911 Telecoms are a key part of the emergency response team, performing important responsibilities such as providing life-saving instructions to subscribers, coordinating incident response resources and monitoring response on the ground to make sure they have everything they need and for them. security, ”he said.
In Berks alone, nearly 60 telecoms responded to more than 420,000 calls for help in 2021.
“They are a link between people in crisis and organizations and individuals who can help them in this crisis,” said Berks County Commissioner Christian J. Leinbach. “Often they forget about the first responders, but if you don’t have a 911 operator, you have a crisis that will be much harder to resolve.” Berks Commissioner Kevin C. Barnhardt added: “We are really looking for people who want a career path and dedicate themselves to our community.”
The profession is characterized by the knowledge that you are making a difference in someone’s life.
Officials say people don’t necessarily need education and experience in the field to become telecommuters. New employees undergo a thorough training program. People with experience in the customer service program work especially well.
The role of the 911 telecom is expanding as PEMA introduces the next generation 911 over the next two years, Boyle said.
The current 911 infrastructure is approaching 30 years. The NG911 will include the full range of network communications – voice, text, photo and video – in 911 calls, among other technological improvements.
During the week, PEMA showcases the stories of some Pennsylvania telecoms on social media using the hashtag # IAm911.
Anyone who wants to learn more can check out the employment sections on county websites on the PEMA website www.pema.pa.gov. The telecommunication position is also available in the state police.
We encourage readers to join us in saluting this important group of workers and thinking about becoming part of their team.