This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators week, a time when our local 9-1-1 dispatchers are honored for their service to our community. Although the common misconception about 9-1-1 dispatchers is that they only answer phones, they provide vital information that ensures the public receives the help they need and first responders can respond as quickly and safely as possible.
Cherrie Burcham, Howard County Dispatcher Supervisor and 9-1-1 Communications Director, told KBest News that the dispatchers try to be empathetic to their callers, but they are still required to get as much information as possible.
"Just because we're asking them those questions, doesn't mean we're not sending the help they need right then. Usually, your partner is sending the help and you're asking the questions," said Burcham. "We want the public to know that we're getting them that help, but we still have to ask them a few questions to get the information we need to protect them, to make sure they're getting the right services, and to protect our officers."
Burcham has 20 years of experience in the field and told KBest News that the most rewarding thing about the job is getting help to people who need it.