Astoria 911 is celebrating the second full week of April (April 14-20) as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. This week, sponsored by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and celebrated annually, honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the citizens of Clatsop County.
Mayor WIllis Van Dusen recognized these hard working Public Safety Professionals by acknowledging their dedication and proclaming this week in Astoria as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
Astoria Police Chief Pete Curzon said "The men and women at Astoria 911 are truely amazing. These highly trained folks thrive under the often stressful and demanding job of dispatching numerous Police and Fire Agencies. None of them ever knows what the next 9-1-1 call will bring although they have my complete confidence that no matter what the circumstances are, they always rise to the occassion."
The Astoria 9-1-1 Center is staffed by only 8 Dispatchers. These dedicated individuals answer some 85,000 telephone calls every year of which over 10,000 are 9-1-1 calls resulting in 40,000 calls for service. In addition to answering these emergency calls they also conduct thousands of Law Enforcement computer queries for the Officers and Deputies on the street, monitor the status of every Officer, and enter or respond to police teletype communications.
"I could not be prouder of the Dispatchers we have", said Emergency Communications Manager Jeff Rusiecki. "The compassion and dedication they demonstrate on a daily basis is truly commendable. Often the public at large will only see emergency vehicles at a scene. Behind the scenes is the realm of the Dispatcher. They constantly work under very demanding pressure to assure these folks in the field get timely notifications and updates as well as anything else they may require to support them."
Astoria 911, though considered a Small Center, remains on the cutting edge of technology to assist the Dispatchers in their day to day activities. "I always want to be sure they have the most up to date technology and equipment avaialble to them without it all becoming overwhelming", said Rusiecki. "They each must also be familiar with back-up systems should a primary system fail. Our Dispatchers normally are in training for nearly a year including an intense 2 1/2 weeks spent at the Public Safety Academy in Salem."