They serve as the first critical contact between the public and emergency responders. We’re talking about the 911 dispatchers. Next week is a time set aside to recognize the call takers and ambulance dispatchers in a job that’s often filled with stress. Mike Postovit goes behind the scenes.
This is the Kingston Central Ambulance Communications Centre. It’s here where the emergency services process begins.
Mark Halladay/Centre Director
“My call takers — they will do an average of up to a hundred different calls a day — per shift — in a 12 hour shift — so they really need to be able to focus — their tools are their voice and their quick thing.”
Anita Pearce/Ambulance Communications Officer
“You need to be able to stay calm — you need to be able to filter some of the emotion and the stress that you’re getting on the other side of the line. There is a technical capacity as well.”
The centre services all of Southeastern Ontario. From Trenton to Ottawa — an area of about 20 thousand square kilometres with a population of well over half a million people.
“We sent an ambulance out last year just over 101 thousand times in our region — so yes it’s very busy for the staff here.
Busy — and also extremely fulfilling.
“There are so many talented people who I work with — and they could excel at a million other things but they choose to be here because they want to serve — and they are motived to help other people.”
Mike Postovit, CKWS News, Kingston