This photo of our Hamilton County 9-1-1 telecommunicators was taken at shift change. Most were able to pause for a few seconds for the photo. Others were handling calls and other important business for emergency responders. Acting Executive Director Jeff Carney is standing in the middle.
The Hamilton County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District is celebrating the second full week of April (April 9-15) as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and celebrated annually, honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.
"Here in Hamilton County, local businesses take time to honor our telecommunicators by donating prizes and food," officials said.
"Local elected officials are also showing their support by signing proclamations and recording messages in which they thank the telecommunicators for the work they do."
“Our telecommunicators are the unsung heroes when it comes to emergency services,” said Acting Executive Director Jeff Carney. “They aren’t seen on a daily basis like the other first responders, but they play a critical role in answering the call for help and getting fire, police and medical resources to where it’s needed as soon as possible.”
The Hamilton County 9-1-1 Center is the primary answering point for all emergency calls in Hamilton County, except for Soddy-Daisy and Lookout Mountain. It employs more than 130 telecommunicators who answer an average of 2,000 to 2,500 calls for service each day in Hamilton County. During big events, the number of calls can climb to 10,000 in one day. The 9-1-1 Center also provides dispatch services for first responders in Chattanooga, Collegedale, East Ridge, Red Bank, Signal Mountain and the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County.
The Hamilton County 9-1-1 Center has led the state in advancements. It was the first in the state to implement ASAP to PSAP, or Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to Public Safety Answering Point, eliminating one and a half to three minutes of response time for each alarm incident. It was the first county in the state to provide the “Text 9-1-1” service, and the first to provide the “PulsePoint” mobile phone application to improve the possibility a victim for cardiac arrest calls will receive CPR quickly. Another improvement was the implementation of Mobile CAD and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVI) for public safety agencies, which enables the Hamilton County 9-1-1 Center to see the location of emergency responder vehicles. Knowing their locations can help the 9-1-1 telecommunicator know which units are closest to an incident, which reduces response times.
What these 9-1-1 telecommunicators do on a daily basis is essential, because they perform sophisticated, skilled and challenging work that saves lives, so it may surprise you to learn that their jobs are classified as “clerical.”
Hamilton County 9-1-1 Facts:
Who they serve:
- Hamilton County;
- City of Chattanooga;
- City of Collegedale;
- City of East Ridge;
- City of Red Bank; and
- Town of Signal Mountain.
Agencies they dispatch:
o Chattanooga Police Department;
o Collegedale Police Department;
o East Ridge Police Department;
o Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office;
o Red Bank Police Department; and
o Signal Mountain Police Department.
EMS, Emergency Services and Emergency Management:
o Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security; and
o Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services (Ambulance).
Fire and Rescue:
o Chattanooga Fire Department;
o Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue;
o Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department;
o East Ridge Fire Department;
o Hamilton County Hazardous Materials Team;
o Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS);
o Mowbray Mountain Fire Department;
o Red Bank Fire Department;
o Sequoyah Volunteer Fire Department;
o Signal Mountain Fire Department;
o Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department;
o Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department;
o Walden’s Ridge Emergency Services; and
o Flat Top Mountain Volunteer Fire Department.