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
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.