National Telecommunicators Week Honors Emergency Dispatchers

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LYNN HAVEN - This week is National Telecommunicators Week. It's set aside to honor the men and women who serve as emergency dispatchers.

Dispatchers are the link between the person needing help and the ones providing it.

Lucy Rose has been Lynn Haven dispatch's lead communications officer for seven years. She says every day seems to present its own, different challenges.

"It's either extremely busy or extremely slow. One of the two. It's never the same. None of it is ever the same," said Lucy Rose, Lead Communications Officer.

Rose and her shift partner Rhonda Clark, typically respond to 50 calls a day for police, fire, animal control or 911 services. They are the front line for Lynn Haven's first responders.

Calls range from someone locking their keys in their car to major traffic crashes. The small staff has many responsibilities during their 12 hour shifts.

They work two days on and two days off. Dispatchers say the most important thing about their job is responding quickly.

"Very critical. Time is either life or death sometimes. Seconds, milliseconds count," said Rose.

Lynn Haven Police officials say dispatchers are critical to other departments functioning.

"Without dispatch, it'd be like a car without a tire. You know you have the other three tires, but you have to have all four of them for it to work right," said Chief David Messer of the Lynn Haven Police Dept.

Rose admits the job can get overwhelming, but also rewarding.

"Knowing that someone made it to the hospital or the situation got resolved. No one got hurt. The officers all went home safely," said Rose.

Lynn Haven dispatchers say their biggest problems is people calling 911 with non-emergencies.

Instead they recommend calling the regular police department number at 265-4111.