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911 Dispatch: What it's like on the other side of the emergency call

Grand Traverse County 911 Dispatch Center

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich (WPBN/WGTU) --When faced with life’s most difficult moments, it’s important to trust those on the other end of the phone.

“We have highly trained individuals that do a great job," said Grand Traverse 911 Deputy Director Leah Hornacek.

After spending 9 years as a dispatcher herself, she's learned quite a bit.

“You don’t have to know everything about everything, but you end up knowing a little bit about everything," she said.

Because as a 911 operator, you hear it all.

“Pretty much everything, everything from A to Z," said Susan Guernsey, who has been working as a call taker for 11 years. "It's really cool to be able to have the skills and the temperament to be able to handle and process what goes in here”

“So, go ahead and make a new call," said Andrea Holczman while training a new dispatcher. Holczman has been a dispatcher for 10 years, and says sometimes the job requires thick skin.

“I've taken calls that have stuck with me," she said. "When I came back from maternity leave one of my first calls was a baby not breathing that was the same age as my baby."

While there are some rough moments in the job, Holczman likes to focus on the positives that come from her work.

“It’s reassuring that you can help somebody with a situation like the worst day of your life and you’re there to help them out," said Holzcman.

Even in a dire emergency, Hornacek says by just doing the job, they can bring comfort to those on the other line.

“To know that you have a qualified skilled individual on the other end of the line that can help you is an asset to any community," said Hornacek. "Ours is really lucky because we have a great group of people here."

If you want to be apart of that group of people, Grand Traverse 911 is currently hiring dispatchers. You can find more information on the job and a link to the application HERE.


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