"A lot of times we're the unseen and unsung heroes of emergency," says dispatcher Aaron Fleenor, of Wood and Wirt County 911.
The 911 dispatcher is the voice of help, reason, comfort and assurance, and often the only line between life and death.
"When you have 911 dispatchers that are dedicated and passionate, you know it's a calling, not a job -- pardon the pun; they want to improve on their ability to perform their duties," says Wood County 911 Director Randy Lowe.
Being the best at what they do benefits the person in crisis on the other end of the phone that much more.
"It's continued education, which is now required for the state with training requirements," says Charley Bickford, a Nicholas County dispatcher. "It's a great way to get out, meet new people, learn new things, keep on your toes so you can be ready whenever you have to answer the call."
If you stay cool and calm under pressure, then you may excel as a 911 operator.
"They do also need to be properly motivated and have a good attitude and that's what this conference is set up to do -- to educate them, help motivate them and give them a good attitude so they can go back to their centers and help people," Lowe says.
The conference is all about camaraderie and networking with others in this specialized job.
"But I also want 'em to be re-energized and have a feeling of togetherness with other dispatchers throughout the state that's doing their same job," Lowe says. "It's very unique."
To get help, you have to call for help and 911 is there.
"People see the ambulances, they see the police officers, the firetrucks, but we're the first line of contact in any emergency situation," Fleenor says.
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