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Telecommunicators

Telecommunicators Week

Telecommunicators Week: April 9–15, 2023

Indiana's public safety telecommunicators are trained first responders who coordinate response efforts to emergencies around the clock, day in and day out. The second week of April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and Gov. Eric J. Holcomb proclaimed it as Public Safety Telecommunicator Week in Indiana (view the proclamation). The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages agencies and residents statewide to learn more about the important work these professionals do and to share appreciation for them.

Telecommunicators Week: April 9–15, 2023

Indiana's public safety telecommunicators are trained first responders who coordinate response efforts to emergencies around the clock, day in and day out. The second week of April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and Gov. Eric J. Holcomb proclaimed it as Public Safety Telecommunicator Week in Indiana (view the proclamation). The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages agencies and residents statewide to learn more about the important work these professionals do and to share appreciation for them.

A Conversation with Statewide 911 Board Executive Director Jeff Schemmer
Hoosier Homeland podcast logoJeff Schemmer

Hoosier Homeland is a new IDHS podcast that explores the latest news and insights in emergency management and public safety topics across Indiana. The latest episode features Statewide 911 Board President Jeff Schemmer, who became the 911 Board executive director in 2022 after rising from being a dispatcher in Bloomington to the director for Hamilton County Public Safety Communications.

Listen to the podcast

Did You Know? Telecommunicator Facts

  • There are more than 90,000 public safety telecommunicators in the United States, answering more than 240 million calls to 911 each year.
  • In 2020, Hoosier telecommunicators received more than 3.7 million calls and more than 13,000 texts to 911.
  • The first 911 call in Indiana was made in March 1968.
  • Indianapolis became the first metropolis in the nation to deploy Text-for-911 services in October 2015.

Sources: nhtsa.gov, 911.gov, Indiana Statewide 911 Board

Highlighting Hoosier Telecommunicators

The following are just a few stories of public safety telecommunicators from across the state, as recognized by the Indiana Statewide 911 Board, during 2022:

Lisa Urbanski at computer
Lisa Urbanski
St. Joseph County 911 Communications Center

Dispatcher Lisa Urbanski received a 911 call from OnStar, which connected her to a caller. The call seemed to be dropped, but Urbanski listened closely and heard what sounded like water in the background. She deployed police and fire personnel who were able to find the caller's vehicle, which was partially submerged upside down in a ditch. The patient was safe, but Urbanski's attention to detail made sure that safety personnel were there and ready to help.

Morgan Hite and James Budd
Morgan Hite
Marshall County Central Dispatch

Dispatcher Morgan Hite received a call about a man having a seizure. During the call, the man became unresponsive and stopped breathing, so Hite began giving CPR instructions to the caller. The man began to breathe again and regained a pulse. Once a police officer arrived, he was able to administer naloxone to the man, who was transported to the hospital and survived.

James Budd
Marshall County Central Dispatch

Dispatcher James Budd received a call from a woman whose daughter had gone into labor. He gave pre-arrival instructions, and the baby boy arrived before first responders. Budd continued to give instructions for how to care for the new mother and child until EMS personnel took over.

Morgan Hite and James Budd
Morgan Hite
Marshall County Central Dispatch

Dispatcher Morgan Hite received a call about a man having a seizure. During the call, the man became unresponsive and stopped breathing, so Hite began giving CPR instructions to the caller. The man began to breathe again and regained a pulse. Once a police officer arrived, he was able to administer naloxone to the man, who was transported to the hospital and survived.

James Budd
Marshall County Central Dispatch

Dispatcher James Budd received a call from a woman whose daughter had gone into labor. He gave pre-arrival instructions, and the baby boy arrived before first responders. Budd continued to give instructions for how to care for the new mother and child until EMS personnel took over.

Becca Hardel
Becca Hardel
Starke County Dispatch Center

Telecommunicator Becca Hardel received a call from a man traveling to the hospital with his girlfriend who was in labor. She determined their location and dispatched police, fire and EMS. Hardel also quickly and calmly gave instructions to the man, who helped deliver the child.

Tabby Ebersole
Tabby Ebersole
Hancock County 911 Center

Dispatcher Tabby Ebersole received 911 call from a father whose 18-month-old boy had drowned. As she dispatched first responders, she got the father in the right frame of mind to perform CPR and helped instruct him until help arrived. Fortunately, the boy was revived, taken to the hospital and has completely recovered.

Carl Barber
Carl Barber
Delaware County Emergency Communications

Telecommunicator Carl Barber fielded a 911 call, in his first year of service, coached a caller through a successful deliver of a baby before first responders arrived at the scene.

Carlena Griffith
Carlena Griffith
Fayette County 911 Communications Center

Dispatcher Carlena Griffith was on duty at the dispatch center when she heard what sounded like gunshots outside. She radioed police officers before any 911 calls were received, and officers responded immediately to save a victim who had been shot in the neck and apprehend the suspect.

Caring Totes

In the past few years, when a local 911 center responds to an especially tragic situation, caring totes are shared among Indiana's telecommunicators. These totes are filled with snacks and sent to a dispatch center to support their fellow telecommunicators. Watch this local news story for more details.

About Indiana's Telecommunicators

Public safety telecommunicators, or dispatchers, are often the initial first responder to an emergency. They take the 911 call or text of distress and obtain essential information to relay to emergency medical service providers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and others. Telecommunicators also give important instructions to callers to help save lives.

Indiana has about 2,000 telecommunicators serving daily to help protect Hoosiers and keep them safe. Read the article "Lifeline Over the Phone Line: Recognizing the Work of Public Safety Telecommunicators" to read about the work Indiana's 911 telecommunicators do.