Honoring 911 dispatchers

Klamath Falls, Ore. – 911 dispatchers in Oregon answered nearly 2 million calls last year.

Dispatchers at Klamath County 911 take over 4 thousand calls each month.

“We are the busiest 911 center in the state of Oregon, per seat.”  Notes Klamath County 911 Executive Director Keith Endacott.

Elfie Lawler was handling emergency calls 4 years before ‘National Public Safety Telecommunications Week’ was first designated in 1981.

“Technically, I started with 911 in 1989 when it first began.”  Lawler recalls.  “Before that, I was with the Sheriff’s Office since 1977.”

Dispatching requires special skills.

“You have to be able to multi-task, keep track of a lot of things at once.”  Endacott says.  “And act quickly, and decisively.”

“We’re not an ‘Oh, I’ll do it later’ kind of place.”  Adds Lawler.

Endacott points out the job can be stressful.  “There’s a number of really tragic calls that I’ve taken where it was a homicide, or you’re on the phone while something really terrible is happening.  They tend to stick with you.”

But, Lawler notes there are also positive calls.  “I’ve had a couple of babies born, and those were memorable.”

And each call will be handled by a professional.

You can learn more about 911 in Klamath County:  www.klamath911.com

You’ll find out more about National Public Safety Telecommunications Week here:  www.npstw.org

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