First responders salute unsung heroes

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PARIS, TX -- Paris and Lamar County first responders are taking time this week to salute dispatchers.

"Paris 9-1-1. Location of your emergency."

That line is repeated thousands of times a year. From people calling for daily weather conditions or local events to a house fire or even walking someone through CPR to help save a life.

Within seconds, a slow day can turn into chaos for a dispatcher.

"It's an adrenaline rush," said Lamar County Dispatch Supervisor Taneesha Edwards. "You just have to keep yourself and whoever your talking to calm in those extreme cases."

"Its really just a normal thing for us," said Paris dispatcher Kristofer Kampmann. "We will be just sitting here talking, joking around and the next minute we get a major accident."

This week is National Telecommunications Week and local first responders are showing their appreciation for their dispatchers.

"They are the unsung heroes of the emergency services," said Captain of Services Division Terry Bull

"They are the heartbeat of our agency," said Lamar County Sheriff Scott Cass

Often overlooked, dispatchers are the first line of communication for all first responders. It's their job to get as many details as possible so that upon arriving on scene police officers, firefighters and paramedics can better handle an emergency.

"I need to know what's going on so that my officers aren't walking in blindly," said Edwards. "There may be a gun there, there may be a knife there, there may be small children there."

"Their job is highly challenging and very stressful as they sit in those chairs for 12-hour shifts, but it's also rewarding," said Cass.

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week was introduced to Congress in 1991.

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