Valdosta has superlative 911 dispatcher - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta has superlative 911 dispatcher

March 6, 2006

Lowndes County -- One of the most important things Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement agencies assessors look at is any 911 center's dispatch capability. They're the only link between a person in distress and the first responders, and the dispatchers must work together as a team to save lives.

When someone dials 911, the dispatcher who answers the call is their lifeline. "Most of the time when you answer the phone, the first words they say is my family member's not breathing, that's always an emotional call," said 911 dispatcher Kevin Terry.

For 17 years, Kevin Terry has been that lifeline. "You feel like you're doing something to at least keep the person alive until the ambulance got there," said Terry. He's the voice of comfort and support when the caller is in distress.

Trained to give instruction on CPR and many other life saving techniques, he's even helped callers deliver babies. "While I've been on the phone, two or three have been delivered," said Terry. It may be a minor injury, or a life and death situation, "Everything from a cut finger to chest pains," said Terry.

But no matter what the emergency, with each call he answers, this dispatcher knows he's making a difference. "It's very emotional, you don't think about it right then, it hits you afterward," said Terry.

The emergencies don't always end happily ever after. "Doing CPR on an infant where they didn't make it, that's very traumatic," said Terry.

But at the end of the day, Terry is glad to know he's part of a team that's making a difference. "It gives you a sense of pride to be part of that," said Terry. And he can go back to work each morning knowing he has one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.

The Lowndes County 911 center will find out if they've been reaccredited in July.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=911dispatcher