JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - During times of dangers, like Saturday’s EF-3 tornado, 911 dispatchers are a calming voice to callers, police officers and first responders.
It is a calmness that Jonesboro/Craighead County E-911 Director Jeff Presley attributes to training.
He said Thursday that 911 dispatchers in Arkansas are mandated to undergo training, which dispatchers here undergo at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.
After that, there are three months of in-house training at E-911.
The training includes how to handle taking calls and talking on the radio calmly.
“You know part of our training is, if we don’t stay calm and cool and lead them to where they need to go, we could cause someone to lose their life,” Presley said. “So, that is always in the back of our minds as 911 operators and radio operators.”
Presley said during the storm, the power at E-911 Dispatch went out for a bit before a backup generator kicked on.
They also lost a call station during the storm.
After the storm, many of the calls that came in to E-911 Dispatch were those of frantic family members wanting to know what part of the town was struck, so that caused an overload of calls for about two hours.
He said his team self-deployed after the storm asking how they could help. He also received calls from all over the area offering help and equipment to E-911 Dispatch.
Presley also said the community has stepped up and help to feed dispatchers this week as well.
It was something he said that he and his team really appreciated.