Look in a dictionary under “unsung hero”. You might see a photo of a 9-1-1 operator.
This is Public Safety Communicator Appreciation Week in Canada. In this city, the call takers and dispatchers work for Timmins Police.
Erica Roy has been on the job for four years. She says she and her colleagues answer general and emergency phone calls; dispatch police, fire and EMS as well as additional resources they ask for.
Roy says the communicators dispatch paramedics for a much wider area than Timmins.
“We do Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Hearst,” she explains. “We actually do up the coast as well, so Attawapiskat, Moose Factory, Moosonee, Fort Albany, Constance Lake, so EMS is quite busy, yeah.”
Add to that, fire departments in Iroquois Falls, Temiskaming Shores, Earlton and Armstrong Township.
Roy runs down the characteristics that are needed to work for 9-1-1.
“You definitely need to be good at communicating. We’re talking to people every day, right? Multitasking, absolutely, I mean we’re doing three, four, five things at a time. Have to be tech savvy when you’re looking at five-plus computers.”
Great emotional control is needed, Roy adds, so that you don’t let a call affect you. She says it’s rewarding knowing that you help people.