VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - WALB got an inside look at the Lowndes County 911 Center, as unseen frontline workers are celebrated for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
Dispatchers there answer an average of 650 calls within a 24-hour period.
It’s a tough job, but a rewarding one.
“Lowndes County 911, what’s your emergency,” a dispatcher often says as they pick up the line.
Responding to emergency calls, dispatching first responders and even walking people through life-saving assistance on the phone, their voice and actions impact how emergencies are handled.
“Every call is different and I guess that’s one of the things that makes the job challenging and exciting at the same time because no two days are exactly the same and no two situations are exactly the same,” said Danny Weeks, the center’s director.
Weeks started his 36-year career as a dispatcher.
His center takes calls from Valdosta, Hahira, Remerton, Lake Park, Echols County, among other places.
They have 41 dispatchers.
Certified requirements are needed for the job.
“I often use the example, it doesn’t matter how well trained your firefighters are or how great your equipment is and everything if you don’t have someone sitting here that can give the right information and get personnel to the right place, then it’s not really of much value,” said Weeks.
Weeks said in the past year, they’ve had more medical calls.
During the beginning of the pandemic, calls slowed down but then picked back up.
Weeks they don’t get many COVID-19 calls now.
Weeks said it’s a team effort in the public safety department.
“We had a baby delivered recently and being a part of that and hearing that first cry and everything, that’s always exciting. And of course, it’s not like it is on television. We don’t always get that ending we would like. Sometimes not everyone goes home at the end of the day but knowing you were part of it and we did everything we could do and that we at least gave that person a fighting chance. I think that’s what’s important to me,” said Weeks.
Weeks said one of the challenges dispatchers face is not getting closure.
After the call is done, they don’t always know what happened after.
Some calls, Weeks said, stick with them forever.