April 15 2020

Fire Department Honoring Dispatchers During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

By: Rich Hosford

The Fire Department is honoring those who answer the calls and coordinate emergency responses, a task made more difficult in this time of COVID-19. 


Fire Chief Michael Patterson said he would like to recognize the Town of Burlington's public safety dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.


During the week of April 12-18, public safety agencies take time to reflect on the critical role telecommunications professionals play in supporting the work of first responders, a release states. This week honors the thousands of men and women across the country who respond to emergency calls, dispatch first responders and equipment and render life-saving assistance to residents.


The Burlington Fire department has four telecommunicator specialists, who are also certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers. These communications professionals are specially trained to handle thousands of calls for service every year. While their work is done outside of the view of the public, they are an essential resource for first responders and the public alike and serve as the first point of contact for members of the public seeking help in an emergency.


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, dispatchers are on the front lines with first responders ensuring that they have all the information needed to safely respond to calls for service, the release states. On average, Burlington Fire Department dispatchers receive approximately 90 emergency calls and hundreds of business calls per week.


“We would not be able to safely render medical aid to our community without the aid of our fire dispatchers. Now, our fire dispatchers, who are Emergency Medical Dispatcher trained and certified, also ask each caller pertinent questions related to the COVID-19 virus and then pass that critical information on to our first responders,” said Chief Patterson. “This critical information allows our first responders to don the proper personal protective equipment that protects both them and the patient before patient interaction even begins. Yesterday, our fire dispatchers processed numerous calls for service related to heavy rains and severe wind gusts, and downed power lines and arcing wires occurred throughout our community. During these storms, our dispatchers must process several requests for service, often at the same time. We at the Burlington Fire Department truly appreciate the hard work and dedication of our fire dispatchers.”


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