PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Team members at the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center said being a calming voice for callers and first responders when there’s an emergency is a major part of their job.
Communities across the country are thanking their 911 dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
What You Need To Know
- National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is held annually during the second week of April
- Dispatchers for the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office provide police, fire and EMS emergency and non-emergency communications for 26 communities
- The center handles more than 80,000 administrative phone calls and 18,000 emergency 911 calls in an average year, according to their website
- Berkshire County emergency calls seem to increase during times when a lot of tourists are visiting, according to dispatcher Royanne Hammond
“I love dispatching," said Royanne Hammond, a veteran dispatcher for the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office. "Helping people and making sure all the responders get home safe at the end of their shifts, that's my goal.”
The sheriff’s 911 dispatch center responds to calls from 26 different communities. Hammond said work can get busy as their team handles nearly 100,000 calls in an average year.
“It can be difficult," Hammond said. "Calls come in for one accident, we can get up to 10 to 15 calls just for the one accident. It's like a puzzle and you have to get everybody going and it's a rush. And I just I love the rush of a busy call or a high stress call.”
“It's amazing what these guys do," said James Rathbun, the team's newest hire. "These guys are the unsung heroes of EMS, fire and police.”
Rathbun is a former police officer from Lanesborough who said while he’s still in dispatch training, he’s found a new appreciation for their ability to facilitate responses to emergency calls.
“I was a police officer for over 20 years," Rathbun said. "We're out on the road, we're taking one call at a time. These guys are taking several calls at a time and trying to make it so dispatch is efficient in getting the help to the people that need it right away.”
“The main focus of the job is always remaining calm,” Hammond said.
Hammond said their team has openings and they’re looking at taking on more Berkshire County communities in the future.
“If you love to help people and you can multitask, and remain calm in high stress situations, it's perfect for you,” Hammond said.