They call themselves the "Team Behind the Scenes," and although dispatchers aren't the ones responding to the scene, they say they're just as important as our uniformed heroes, which is why they're being honored during National Telecommunications Week.
"We're the first ones, we're actually the one that receives the call, get them out there and if we weren't taking the call, they wouldn't know where to go," said Albany 911 dispatcher Janet Williams.
When the phone rings, a dispatcher has only minutes to try and get as much information from the caller who's often panicked. They say the ability to stay calm is crucial for everyone's safety.
"If you're not calm, the person that you're on the phone with is not going to be able to help you, help themselves or help the person they're calling for. So it's very important for you as a communications officer to stay as calm as possible," said shift supervisor Wylene Rowe.
Dispatchers say in an event like the Boston Marathon Bombing, they play the role of the lifeline between the victims and those who are looking for them.
"We're having to let the units know where this injured person is or where there's other injured persons and be able to give them direct information," said dispatcher Shelia Fairbanks.
From shootings to fires or a routine medical call, dispatchers say every call is just as important as the next.
"You never know who's on the other end of that line when it's ringing," said Williams, who says she treats every caller as if they were her own child who needed help.