National Telecommunicator Week is a Reminder that 911 is for Emergencies Only

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.20.10 PMEvery year, the second week of April is dedicated to the 911-dispatchers of emergency services who work behind the scenes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year answering calls for help and assistance.

In Connecticut we refer to these dedicated public safety professionals as Public Safety Dispatch Telecommunicators.

“You probably don’t think much about who answers the 911 calls. You’ve most likely never met them and they are just a voice on the other end of the line,” Greenwich Police said in a statement. “However in an emergency they can and do provide lifesaving instructions to calm you when you hear a bump in the night, provide directions to lost motorists, and above all monitor the emergency services responders’ locations, condition and needs.”

In fact, dispatchers handle every type of phone call imaginable, from lost children, shoplifting incidents, bank robberies, parking violations, noise complaints, medical emergencies, fires and just about anything else a person can think of.

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In the dispatch center at Greenwich Police Headquarters, Lt. John Brown and Dwight Straub, who brings 20 years experience as a White Plains police officer to his job as a PSDT, which stands for Public Safety Dispatch Telecommunicator. Credit: Leslie Yager

Greenwich is fortunate to have 16 dedicated professionals working around the clock to keep us all safe. The first line of emergency services usually starts with a 911 phone call and these professionals take it from there.

On average Greenwich Police receive around 100,000 911 calls each year. Not all are true emergencies, but they handle each and every call as if it were an emergency. And though occasionally the lines fall silent, giving dispatchers time for tasks like researching warrants, the number of calls fielded is staggering, and will soar during a weather or emergency event.

On an annual basis, the Greenwich Police Department Public Safety Dispatch Telecommunicators dispatch over 4,000 fire calls, 40,000 police calls and over 6,000 medical calls.

Greenwich Police remind residents that 911 is for emergencies only!

Before You Dial 911: A Primer on the Job of Greenwich Police Dispatchers