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HONESDALE – “When you’ve had a fire, you know how important it is to be able to make that one call to get the help you need,” Wayne Commissioner Chairman Brian Smith told the county’s assembled Emergency Communications Dispatchers at the Commissioner’s meeting on April 12.
A fire leveled the barn on Smith’s Damascus Township Dairy Barn in 2014, and he told the dispatchers they should be very proud of the work they do. He noted that even during times of transition and equipment failures they never alter the way they handle the thousands of calls they receive.
Commissioner Wendell Kay said the annual recognition is important because they handle those calls for help so professionally and efficiently. But most importantly, he noted, the dispatchers take on the stress of the people caught up in those emergencies by helping them deal with the situation, often talking them through life sustaining actions while they await the first responders. “I really admire that ability,” he said.
Commissioner Joseph Adams said, “We have spent millions of dollars in recent years, but none of that equipment matters without you. You are the people who make it work.” He lauded their ability to juggle the 23 fire departments and ambulance companies as well as National Guard units and utilities during times of crisis, like the major nor’easter that swept through county in early March.
The 911 Center near Beach Lake fielded thousands of calls about downed trees, closed roads and other hazards and emergencies over several days. “You are behind the scenes all the time, and the public needs to know the critical role you play and how important you are to their safety.”
The 911 Dispatchers are, seated from left: Scott Myers, William McKinnell and Director Cheryl Hunter; standing from left are Commissioner Wendelll Kay, Kimberlie Tipke, James Wayman, Lucas Batzel, Steve Cook, William VanHorn, Commissioner Joe Adams, Matt Kromko and Commissioner Brian Smith. Not present were Matthew Cerra, Brad Ellsworth, Shannon Gill, Michael Hosking, Forrest Mohn, Jeffrey Rotundo, Betsy Turner and Timothy Wright.