In a moment of fear or panic, you dial 911, the voice on the other line, a dispatcher. Those men and women are the first, first responders working to keep you safe.

This week, it’s time to thank them. It’s  National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, something that Ohio County 911 director Theresa Russell said her dispatchers look forward to every year.

Celebrated the second week in April since the 1980’s, in conjunction with 911 education month.

Dispatchers start the 911 call from the time you dial in until the first responders get on scene.

Inside the center it can be a stressful job, calls come in constantly, and many times dispatchers don’t even know how those situations end.

Theresa said our Ohio County dispatchers are some of the most experienced in the state, many with well over 20 years in the 911 center.

“It’s just our way of helping out, you know, you have police officers and firefighters that are great with the field, but then you have these people that sit in here and this is their contribution to assist everyone else,” said Russell.

Theresa is treating her dispatchers to hoodies this year plus she said many fire and police departments bring in food and other goodies as a thank you for helping to keep them safe in the field.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger delivered a box full of mugs, pens, bags, and notepads to show the department’s appreciation.

Be sure to thank a dispatcher this week!