Tell me where you are and stay on the phone

First Responders Series - Dispatchers critical to safety in 911 emergency situations in Shelby County

    HARLAN --”Shelby County 911 where is your emergency?”
    “Where are you, that is the most important thing you have to tell me,” Susan Cooper said.
    “Don’t start telling everything else, tell me where you are; that way I can get you help as quickly as possible.  Then it’s the what. What is the emergency. I will then verify your phone number so if I lose you I can get you back and then you need to listen and answer the questions, we ask the questions for a reason. They’re important and I know people are upset and are having a bad day but if you can just answer our questions we can get you help so much faster,” Cooper said.
    Alex Londo and Susan Cooper are both dispatchers at the Shelby County Communications Center. Londo has worked in the Communications Center for two years and works 12-hour day shifts. Cooper has worked in the communications center for 11 years and works 12-hour night shifts. Their weekly shifts are two days on, two days off, and every other weekend.
    The Shelby County Communications Center dispatches police, fire, medical and after-hour utilities.
    During a call, while one dispatcher is speaking to the individual, the other is dispatching police, EMTs or fire, or calling the hospital if the person is going to be brought in.
    The types of calls differ from day to day and some days are busier than others. Full moons are consistently crazy days for all first responders.
 

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