Communications operators answer emergency 9-1-1 calls as well as routine calls for service. It is a difficult but rewarding career choice and the communications operators must complete a great deal of training both on the job and from outside sources. The communications center currently employs 12 full-time and six-part time operators.
Training includes on the job experience, 24 hours of EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) training, 40 hours of Telecommunicator training from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, CPR certification, and computer certification on the Iowa / NCIC system. All operators must have continuing education hours to keep their certifications.
Calls for Service
One call for service may be a barking dog or an improperly parked vehicle, and the next an infant choking or a person in respiratory distress. All operators are trained so that they may be able to give the appropriate pre-arrival instructions to the caller and initiate the Heimlich Maneuver or CPR.
Aside from training in emergency medical dispatch, extensive training is provided in preparedness for severe weather. During the peak storm season it is not out of the ordinary to have the communications center in a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch on alert 1-3 times weekly.
No two days and no two calls are ever alike. It takes patience and understanding. It takes the skill of listening and remaining calm under pressure. All of the operators come from different areas and different backgrounds. All are trained to help you when you need assistance.