The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency recognized the vital work of 911 telecommunicators during a visit Tuesday to the Berks County Services Center during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, which runs April 10 – 16.
“Our telecommunicators are highly trained professionals who are the critical link between someone who needs help and the first responders who provide fire, law enforcement or emergency medical services,” said PEMA 911 Deputy Jeff Boyle.
“They are the vital first step in any emergency response, and today we are honored to call attention to the work that they do.”
In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 2,500 telecommunicators working at 61 county-based emergency call centers (formally known as Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs) who process nearly 14.5 million requests for emergency assistance each year.
In Berks County alone, nearly 60 telecommunicators answered more than 420,000 calls for assistance in 2021.
“National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is a brief window of time each year where we ask everyone to take the time to consider, and be thankful for, the men and women standing silent watch 24x7x365,” said Berks County Director of Emergency Services Brian Gottschall.
“These individuals who can say #IAm911 stand a continuous watch so that when you are in your time of greatest need, they can be your first contact with the community lifelines that are ready to help you.”
Like many emergency response organizations, county PSAPs are struggling to meet staffing needs. Apply in Berks County here.
All PSAPs provide a comprehensive training program to adequately prepare people to serve in a telecommunicator role, so most individuals who are interested in becoming a telecommunicator may only need to meet the following requirements: Be at least 18 years of age; Possess a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED); Be free of a criminal history that would prohibit them from successfully fulfilling all duties of the position as defined by the employer; and Meet any additional employer-specific qualifications to be hired as a telecommunicator (e.g., pre-employment testing.)