Mike Durner: 911 dispatchers are unsung heroes

To the editor:

Picture this if you will: Someone having a heart attack and someone standing by with a cell phone.

Picture this: As you are driving down the road, you see a two-car, head-on crash, and you need emergency help right away.

The person with you has a cell phone. Or even think of this: In the middle of the night, someone breaks into your house, and you need help.

Who do you call? No, it's not Ghost Busters. It's the men and women of our 911 dispatch center for Moffat County, Craig and Colorado State Patrol. These folks are truly the unsung heroes who are the lifeline between your problem and the help you need.

The Craig Daily Press printed a wonderful article the other day about many of the local heroes who serve our community but forgot who gets the ball rolling.

Dispatchers, or communication specialists, as they are known, are highly trained professionals who get the right guys to the problem.

Many dispatchers are trained in life-saving techniques, such as CPR and first aid, which may come in use when someone calls for help and before emergency personnel can get on scene. Law and emergency personnel depend on these communicators to relay important information to operators in the field.

This information many times could mean life or death to the person calling and the responding agency; therefore, the information has to be fast and, above all, accurate.

If anyone thinks being a dispatcher is easy, just call and ask for a sit-a-long. Watch and listen for an hour or so and see how many officers they direct and how many phone calls come in. It's like being in a car with five children, all of them wanting your attention at the same time, and your spouse telling you to watch the road. Well, you stay on the road and answer all the children's questions and never blink an eye.

The media does a fine job covering awards given to law enforcement and emergency personnel for outstanding work performed, and rightfully so.

But remember the next time you call 911 or read about the police officer, firefighter or EMT who saved a life and think who told them where to go and what the emergency was.

Yes, I am married to one of these unsung heroes and am proud of what she does day in and day out.

I just wish the Daily Press would have included this group -- not because of who they are as individuals, but because of what they do collectively to make our community a safer place to live.

Mike Durner

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