Breaking News
More () »

Celebrating and honoring Lucas County dispatchers for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

"It's an emergency to them. No matter if it's just an ill person, it's still an emergency to them," EMS dispatcher Ed Torres said.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Most of the time, when you call 911, it will be a stranger on the line helping with your emergency and in Lucas County, all of the dispatchers are under one roof.

For National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, WTOL 11 wanted to see first-hand what a dispatcher's day looks like.

Back in October, all eight of Lucas County's regional 911 call centers were consolidated into one central hub and since then, the phones have been ringing non-stop.

The first link in the chain of survival when a call comes into 911 is the call taker. From there, it goes to the dispatcher.

EMS dispatchers, such as Ed Torres, are responsible for helping the patient through a medical crisis until first responders get there.

They also try to help the caller remain calm. 

"It's an emergency to them. No matter if it's just an ill person -- it's still an emergency to them and that's how I take that, because they might not have been in this situation," Torres said. "You just guide them through it and pre-arrival instructions."

Being a dispatcher isn't an easy job. You have to be prepared to help someone give CPR over the phone or help the caller control a bleed. 

"All the day-to-day stuff and after a while, you become callous to it, unfortunately," Fire and EMS manager, Ralph Shearn said. "While it's a huge event for somebody out there, it's just another one of those day-to-day regular incidents here."

Torres said the only information he receives from the caller is the address and what's happening. Most of the time, he doesn't even know their name. And once that call is over, he's on to the next emergency. 

"And you wonder. You wonder how that call went," Torres said. "but before you know it, you're on another call and you're thinking about that call that's at hand at that time."

Shearn said the consolidation has been interesting, to say the least. There have been some struggles, but they're learning to adapt. 

"We continue to move forward and try to improve, which we are doing," Shearn said. "There were expectations that we were going to have bumps and we did meet those."

There were 21 Lucas County municipalities that joined this consolidated 911 call center late last year. 

The goal was to cut operational costs and reduce the number of misdirected calls.


Before You Leave, Check This Out