Why 911 dispatchers are so important

911 dispatchers are the first line of communication when someone has an emergency./ Jazmyne Hankerson

You're used to seeing police, fire or EMS vehicles when there's an emergency be and seeing the people who drive them save the day.

But it's one important group that gets them there.

"Fire, EMS, police, sheriff, all that is public safety. They're limbs on the public safety body. 911 is the heart of that body. If it's messed up the rest of the body doesn't work good," said Albany Fire Department Chief Ron Rowe.

911 dispatchers are the first line of communication when someone has an emergency. And their job can be more intense than people think.

"You never know what you're going to pick up when you pick up that call. you never know what's on the other end so it's stressful and a lot of people feel like this is not for me," said 911 Dispatch Manager Sheila Sims.

Sheila has been a dispatcher for 16 years.

But she says the turn-over rate can be high as many people get burnt out after about two years.

"At the end of the day you have to know that there life outside of here. You can't take it home with you. When you go home, that's time for your family," said Sims.

Dispatchers train for weeks in real-life simulated scenarios to prepare them. On the job, they work 12-hour shifts.

So when emergency teams get to wherever you may need them know that there's a whole team who got them there.

"We're all working together to make sure everyone gets what they need," said Sims.

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