HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - This week is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week 2021, which celebrates dispatchers who often provide life-saving help behind the scenes during emergencies.
Dispatchers can work for a range of services like fire departments, police or sheriff’s departments, transportation companies and emergency medical care.
At the AAA Ambulance Service call center in Hattiesburg, Ted Lightsey is a dispatcher with more than 25 years of experience.
“On average around 160 911 calls, that’s the emergency calls, and then each dispatcher probably answers about 40 of those give or take,” Lightsey said of the typical dispatcher shift.
As an emergency medical dispatcher, their job is to get the basic information from a situation and give the caller essential advice and steps to follow until help arrives.
Lightsey says they hear it all.
“From fielding 911 with regular medical calls, general illness calls, everything up to cardiac arrest and childbirth,” Lightsey said.
Lightsey admits the job is rarely dull. AAA Ambulance Service covers 10 Pine Beltcounties with many ambulances and three rescue helicopters. It’s tough work, but Lightsey says it has bright moments that make the service worth it.
“It’s not the long hours, but they are long hours,” he says. “It’s mostly the people you’re working with and the people you help.”