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Weathering the storm: Dispatchers fielding the increased calls for help during inclement weather

Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 11, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency dispatchers honored as the first, first responders

As a crucial member of the public safety community, 9-1-1 dispatchers are honored each year during ‘National Telecommunicators Week’.

During inclement weather, dispatchers serve an even greater purpose.

“Our workload, the stress level, everything increases exponentially when we have poor weather,” said Joe Faiola, Communications Manager at the Salt Lake Communications Center. “I would say that it (calls) at least triples if not quadruples on a bad storm day.”

The Salt Lake Communications Center, located inside of the Utah Department of Transportation Traffic Operations Center building, serves as a communications hub for state agencies in Salt Lake and Utah counties.

“You’ve heard of them (dispatchers) referred as the first, first responder and I think that’s completely accurate,” said Faiola. “You can’t have fire, you can’t have police, you can’t have medical unless you have the dispatchers behind the scenes orchestrating everything that happens in the public eye.”

Dispatchers are typically the first person an individual in need of help talks to when they call.

“We do talk to the troopers, and we have multiple different channels up here so we’re always doing multiple things at once while answering the phones,” said Alissa Prescott, a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the Salt Lake Communications Center.