The critical role of dispatchers in emergency response

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Dispatchers may not have sirens or lights, but in all emergencies, they are the first line of response.

"We're the hive of the whole county," Washoe County Communications Supervisor, Jenn Felter, said. "If you don't have a place to call, then you're not going to get the help you need."

At times, dispatchers often walk people through certain emergencies while they wait for help to arrive.

"Cardiac over the phone, child birth and so on and so forth so when we don't have a first responder there quick enough or something is happening right then, we give you those instructions right over the phone," she said.

Due to COVID-19, the Regional Dispatch and Emergency Center in Reno is only allowing its dispatchers inside.

"So we have to be really careful with who have in and out of the centers," Felter said.

Through April 18, dispatchers are being celebrated and recognized for their work because of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Though they can't celebrate with law enforcement in person, some agencies have provided meals and warm wishes through social media.

"What we do is critical, we're dispatching your police, fire and medical," she said.

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