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Behind the scenes of the Twin Falls dispatch center
The Wizard of Oz told Dorothy Gale to 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.' But KMVT’s Jay Michaels says many of the people who work behind the scenes help a lot more of us than we might realize.
Their voices are calm and reassuring.
But the words these dispatchers in Twin Falls say can send police officers - fire engines - and ambulances manned with experienced personnel - to where they're needed in a big hurry.
“For a community of 44,000 people, our dispatch center actually fields over 140,000 calls a year, that come into the dispatch center that require them to do something. 18,000 of those are 911 calls, in which people are calling, expressing that they have some sort of emergency or they've seen something that requires us to immediately respond to it,” said Twin Falls Police Dept. Captain Matt Hicks.
Police, firefighters, and emergency crews are first responders. They're the first ones to show up on the scene of an accident or a fire.
But these dispatchers are actually the first people many of us talk to when we call 911.
And while we're used to having somebody answer that phone when we call, we may not realize that there's somebody there ‘round the clock 24 hours a day.
“They're not only there for us, but they're also there for our police, firefighters, and emergency services. They are our eyes and ears a lot of times. They are able to tell us what's going on in the community, and be able to direct those services. They're very heavily relied upon,” said Hicks.
Hicks says the two or three people are on duty at a time have to answer a total of just under 400 calls every day.
Sometimes several calls come in a flurry, back to back.
Hicks says these dispatchers work in a high pressure environment, and their co-workers think they're doing a fantastic job.
“This is a very high stress job that requires a lot of dedication, and a lot of experience and skill to handle, and we're very, very proud of our dispatchers. They do an excellent job for our community,” said Hicks.