Dispatchers are calming voice in time of crisis

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 April 2017 at 5:04 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lori Grube, a dispatcher for Orleans County since 1998, is pictured at the 911 dispatch center with co-worker Mike Draper taking a call in the background.

ALBION – Public safety dispatchers in Orleans County last year handled 34,447 calls. Many of those calls were at a time of crisis, people reporting heart attacks, strokes, fires and other emergencies.

This week is “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.” Sheriff Randy Bower is a former dispatcher for nearly 30 years. He said the dispatchers provide an essential service for the community.

“In a time of crisis, public safety dispatchers are the calming voice on the other end of the phone line,” Bower said. “They’re ‘the life blood’ of public safety, the true first responders; This is where it all starts.”

Bower provided a breakdown of the calls from 2016 (not counting non-emergency calls) –

• Police – Sheriff’s Office, 9,683; Medina PD, 6,197; Albion PD, 5,156; State Police, 2,187; Holley PD, 1,193; and Lyndonville PD, 78.

• Fire – Albion, 456; Barre, 208; Carlton, 262; Clarendon, 129; East Shelby, 82; Holley, 416; Fancher-Hulberton-Murray, 213; Kendall, 101; Lyndonville, 229; Medina, 287; Ridgeway, 287; and Shelby, 205. Total, 2,875.

• EMS – Clarendon Ambulance, 222; COVA, 2,090; Kendall Ambulance, 160; Medina Ambulance, 2,567; and Monroe Ambulance, 738. Total: 5,777.

The dispatch center has updated furniture with four movable work stations, allowing dispatchers to choose to sit or stand during their shifts. Bower said the county is working to add a fourth work station to accommodate busy times, such as storms and holidays.

He is pleased dispatch now has access to cameras within Medina Central School, and the sheriff said he is working with the other school districts to have accessibility to their cameras during an emergency.

Lori Grube is one of the county dispatchers. She started part-time in 1998 and has been full-time since 2001.

“It’s way more than answering the phone,” she said. “It’s a lot of multitasking.”

Grube, like many of the dispatchers, has been active as a firefighter. She was a member of the Holley Fire Department as an EMT before becoming a dispatcher.

Bower said the dispatchers are all highly skilled, providing life-saving advice in emergencies.

“Please join me in recognizing our public safety dispatchers for all of their hard work, dedication and service to our community,” he said.

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