Imagine never knowing what was going to be on the other end of the phone when you answered it. That’s what your local 9-1-1 telecommunicators have trained for. Some days the calls are routine — barking dogs, livestock on the roadway, and vehicle unlocks. Some days are unforgettable — a hysterical parent reporting their baby is not breathing, farm entanglements, suicides and domestic violence. We have even seen plane crashes, explosions, and homicides touch us here in Washington County. The men and women who answer 9-1-1 need to be prepared for anything. They are the “first” first responder on the scene and if they don’t react quickly, ask the appropriate questions, calm the frantic caller, and send the right response then the entire call is off track.
April 14-20, 2019, is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week and honors those who answer emergency calls, dispatch emergency personnel and equipment, and render lifesaving assistance to the citizens across the nation. In Washington there are 10 telecommunicators with over 100 years of experience answering your calls. The dispatch staff includes Cara Sorrells (Supervisor), Teresa Todd (Assistant Supervisor), Sandy Lovetinsky, Melanie Huschka, Issak Kleese, Cassie Manley, Lydia Powers, Brittany Stutzman, Hunter Erwin and Tammy Heflin. Several current 9-1-1 telecommunicators from Washington County are past winners and nominees for the Iowa Chapter of APCO Telecommunicator of the Year Award. We are extremely proud of the entire staff for their dedication. We plan to recognize these local behind-the-scenes heroes all week long. We also want to take the opportunity to thank those personnel that we communicate with everyday, who help us do our job. This includes the law enforcement officers, ambulance personnel, firefighters, first responders, tow truck operators, funeral home directors, emergency room personnel, public works and roads personnel, and animal control personnel, just to name a few.
For more information, to set up an interview or a communications center tour, please contact Supervisor Cara Sorrells at 319-653-2107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.