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genesee county emergency dispatch center

June 29, 2021 - 4:32pm

From Genesee County Emergency Communications Director Steven C. Sharpe:

The following telephone exchanges are experiencing audio problems when dialing 9-1-1 from a Frontier landline service:

  • (585) 768-XXXX (Le Roy Service Area): No audio
  • (585) 494-XXXX (Bergen Service Area): Distorted audio
  • (585) 584-XXXX (Pavilion Service Area): Distorted audio

If you have an emergency, we advise the public to call 9-1-1 from a wireless / cellular phone. We can still process wireless calls from these service areas.

If you do not have access to a wireless / cellular device, please contact the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center at (585) 343-5000.

April 21, 2021 - 11:15am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county emergency dispatch center.

county_dispatchers_1.jpg

When looking at the minimum qualifications and the amount of training that go into shaping a successful emergency dispatcher and pairing that with the competence required in taking a 9-1-1 call, it certainly is puzzling that these professionals are classified by New York State and the federal government as “clerical” workers.

That is the thinking of Director Steven Sharpe, Assistant Director Frank Riccobono and the staff at the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center, who are applauding companion bills recently introduced in the state Senate and Assembly to change the classification of dispatchers.

“It’s really all about classifying people according to the labor that they perform,” said Sharpe, in support of the bill that would designate public safety dispatchers, emergency responders, emergency operators, emergency complaint operators, and emergency service dispatchers as “certified first responders.”

Sharpe said that the Genesee County Legislature passed a resolution backing this change when it was considered at the federal level, and “obviously, we would support it at the state level if the state decided to follow suit.”

“What we’re trying to do is to change our classification at the state and federal levels as being first responders – because that is what we are,” Sharpe said. “We’re the first ones on the scene, although remotely, as we have the ability as dispatch staff to dramatically impact the life safety of callers.”

Sharpe said dispatchers have delivered babies, helped people perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation over the phone and helped stabilize a heart attack victim by giving instructions on the administration of aspirin – all over the phone.

“A lot of this stuff happens before first responders have a chance to get there. We work hand-in-hand with our first responders so when they get there, we have hopefully have kept the situation stabilized or made it better while they were traveling to the scene,” he added. “And when they get there, they pick up the pieces where we left off.”

Riccobono: The Job has Changed Dramatically

Riccobono, a dispatcher for more than 30 years, said a key point is recognizing dispatchers for the job they perform.

“I’m sure when the federal government classified dispatchers many years ago, it probably was more clerical,” he said. “The job has changed dramatically since then. Training was five weeks long. Dispatchers now go through typically about a 16-week program and they go through another four to six weeks of on-the-job training. I think most people would agree that that’s more than what a typical clerk would go through.”

Dispatchers may not be at the scene, but they are hearing and providing information to the first responders and from the caller to keep everyone safe, Riccobono offered.

“We’ve had many recent incidents where the dispatcher was instrumental in keeping the person safe. A few years ago, we had an active shooting in the Indian Falls area and the dispatcher was instrumental in instructing the people where to go to keep them safe and an incident just last year where a dispatcher had to tell a person, essentially, to jump out the window when the perpetrator was literally breaking the door down,” he said.

“It’s truly amazing the job that dispatchers do. And this is no disrespect to any clerk position, but you're comparing apples and oranges.”

Riccobono supervises four senior dispatchers – Robert Tripp, John Spencer, Mike Sheflin and Jason Holman – as well as 14 full-time and four part-time dispatchers at the county Emergency Dispatch Center on Park Road.

Dispatchers answer, process and maintain the county’s Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System*, and answer all seven-digit nonemergency and administration lines for all law enforcement agencies within Genesee County. That’s a total of 27 local police, fire and emergency medical agencies, 22 municipalities, other police agencies and the general public.

Dispatchers Share Their Experiences

Tripp and dispatcher Beth Hynes, both with 19 years of experience at the dispatch center, agreed that the job requires the ability to multitask, process information quickly and accurately, and to stay calm under stressful circumstances.

“When people call us, they’re looking for help and looking for someone to respond – whether they’re having a bad day or having fights or need of medical services. A secretary can’t send that,” Hynes said, “whereas we take the information and give them appropriate help as quickly as possible. We are pretty much the first link in the chain of emergency services. It comes to us first and then we proceed to give it out to medical, fire department or police services.”

Hynes said dispatchers are dealing with more domestic violence situations today “because it was always that dirty, little secret that you didn’t hear about that now is coming to the forefront.”

“People with cell phones – they see things – where you have the people involved who are not reporting things but the witnesses are reporting things and we’re responding to that,” she explained. “There’s a lot more violence on the street as well.”

She said she took part in the delivery of a child by a police officer in the City of Batavia.

“A person was in labor, coming from Orleans County driving to the hospital in Batavia and they got to Oak and Richmond and they had to pull over,” she recalled. “I didn’t actually instruct them how to give birth but I heard it as he laid the phone next to the mom. Then the police pulled up and delivered the baby. But I was kind of there. That’s the closest I’ve come (to delivering a baby).”

Tripp said he has taken calls where the person on the other end of the line is suicidal.

“Those hit the nerve the most,” he said. “It kind of gives you that sense of importance, if you will, especially if you are successful in preventing someone from taking their life. Sometimes we’re not so fortunate, but we’re that first line for anybody who needs assistance, whether it’s something medical or fire or somebody that just needs someone to talk to because they don’t where else to go. We take those calls, day in and day out.”

Tripp said dispatchers take an average of 100 to 150 calls per day on his 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift alone. Statistics from the sheriff’s office show that in the first quarter of 2021, the dispatch center fielded 18,457 calls.

Classifying dispatchers as first responders would afford a “sense of respect” to the position, Tripp said.

“We work hard and we’re directly involved in emergency services and we have some sort of effect on that incident,” he said. “Plus, this job is ever-evolving as new technology has resulted in new complaints, such as the unemployment fraud that we’re seeing now that wasn’t around 10 years ago.”

Extensive Training is a Requirement

After placing in the top three on the Civil Service list, prospective dispatchers have to pass several physical and psychological tests before entering into 14 to 16 weeks of an initial in-house training program and four to six weeks of additional on-the-job training.

Riccobono said that outside training is provided through the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. Plus, dispatchers have to be certified in CPR and automated external defibrillator, and are required to take part in up to 50 hours of annual in-service training.

As far as the job classification, Sharpe said he thinks some of the reason this change hasn’t received an overwhelming amount of support is because people may think that dispatchers are seeking an economic boost.

“All it does is say they’re classifying folks as first responders,” he said. “Right now, looking at the state of finances in New York State, I don’t think there would be a large enough push to change the retirement system. That’s not what this legislation is all about.”

Sharpe said seeking a change is not a matter of disparaging the clerical profession.

“What we do is we impact life safety over the phone. And, with that comes the stress,” he said. “Sometimes people forget we’re the first ones on the scene. We’re not physically there but we’re there remotely and we’re experiencing those emotions, and we have to deal with that emotional content.”

*Enhanced 911, E-911 or E911 is a system used in North America to automatically provide caller's location to 9-1-1 dispatchers. 911 is the universal emergency telephone number in the region.

Photo at top: Robert Tripp, Beth Hynes and Frank Riccobono at the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center on Park Road. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

April 14, 2021 - 10:18pm

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The City of Batavia this week honored a longtime police officer who recently retired and recognized the contributions of Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center personnel.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski and Council Member Jeremy Karas, at Monday night's Business Meeting, read proclamations honoring Police Officer Jason Davis and designating the week of April 11-17 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, respectively.

Davis retired on March 30 after nearly 22 years with the Batavia Police Department. Previously, he worked for the Village of Le Roy PD and Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office.

The proclamation noted his many roles, including the emergency response team, crime intervention officer, field training officer, general topics instructor, de-escalation instructor and, most recently, school resource officer at the Batavia City School District.

He also was a Boy Scout Troop leader for many years.

Per the proclamation, Officer Davis “served his department with professionalism and compassion, and has been a positive role model and mentor to other officers and many more in the community."

Davis thanked all those with the city for giving him the opportunity in 1999 when he transferred to Batavia. 

Karas, after reading the proclamation that outlined the various ways communications staff and dispatchers are vital to public safety, introduced Genesee County Undersheriff Brad Mazur (at right in photo below)  and Communications Assistant Director Frank Riccobono (at left in photo below).

Mazur thanked City Council for acknowledging the dispatchers' "hard work, dedication and true professionalism."

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Photos by Mike Pettinella.

April 12, 2020 - 8:00am

Press release:

In 1991, a formal Congressional resolution acknowledged the vital role that telecommunicators play in emergency situations by proclaiming the second week in April as a week of annual recognition in their honor. National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week is a time to thank these men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving the public.  

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. along with the Genesee County Legislature and all emergency first responders recognize these public safety professionals for their continued dedication, professionalism and commitment to public service.

The Genesee County Legislature issued a proclamation at its Wednesday night meeting recognizing April 12 – 18 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week. The lights on the Old County Courthouse cupola will be changed to red, white and blue to acknowledge this week.  

Emergency Services 9-1-1 Dispatchers are there 24/7, 365 days a year for first responders and the public in time of need. Many people do not think about these seemingly nameless, faceless individuals until they experience actual emergencies themselves.

In many instances, Dispatchers make the difference between life and death. More than 89,445 events were dispatched in 2019, a daily average of 245, and over 115,114 telephone calls were handled last year which is an average of 315 calls per day.

The Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center (Public Safety Answering Point-PSAP) is comprised of 25 men and women who dispatch to five local police agencies/New York State Police; 19 fire departments/Emergency Management Service; three ambulance services; as well as 41 other local, county, regional, state, and federal agencies.

“Everyday citizens depend on the skill, expertise and commitment of the 9-1-1 dispatchers," Sheron said. "They are the first to take that phone call; the first to provide basic life support in a medical emergency; and also the first to dispatch needed fire, police or EMS responders for the call.

"They are to be recognized and commended during this very special week. I would like to personally extend my sincere appreciation for their hard work and dedication. They are truly unsung heroes in our community."

June 15, 2016 - 4:40pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center now offers text to 9-1-1 services. Below are a few guidelines for the use of text to 9-1-1.

  1. Call 9-1-1 when you can, text when you can’t.

    1. Calling 9-1-1 is always your best option as our dispatchers have a better chance of locating you and

      recording background noises or conversations that can be used as evidence if you are a victim of a crime.

    2. Text to 9-1-1 provides better access for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or may have trouble

      speaking especially in a mobile environment.

    3. Text to 9-1-1 is appropriate for victims whose hiding location may be revealed by speaking on the phone.

  2. How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:

    1. Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;

    2. The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of

      help needed;

    3. Push the “Send” button (if hiding, ensure phone and text alerts are silenced).

    4. Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.

    5. Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations or emoticons.

    6. Keep text messages brief and concise.

  3. Below are a few things to know if you need to text 9-1-1:

    1. Text location information is not equal to current location technology.

    2. As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not

      be received; this may significantly delay response times.

    3. Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.

    4. A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-9-1-1.

    5. If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message

      indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.

    6. Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.

    7. Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other

      than 9-1-1.

  4. Do not text and drive!

  5. Prank calling or texting 9-1-1 can be considered falsely reporting an incident or aggravated harassment; you may be arrested and prosecuted for abusing the 9-1-1 system.

  6. Additional information regarding text to 9-1-1 can be found at the Web address immediately below: http://www.nena.org/?page=textresources 

April 12, 2016 - 4:33pm

Press release:

In 1991, a formal Congressional resolution acknowledged the vital role that telecommunicators play in emergency situations by proclaiming the second week in April as a week of annual recognition in their honor. National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week is a time to thank these men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving the public.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office recognizes and commends the County’s 9-1-1 dispatchers for their dedication, professionalism and commitment to public service.

9-1-1 dispatchers are there 24/7,365 days a year for first responders and the public in time of need. Many people do not think about these seemingly nameless, faceless individuals until they experience actual emergencies themselves. In many instances, 9-1-1 dispatchers make the difference between life and death.

More than 82,000 events were dispatched in 2015, a daily average of 224, and 134,937 telephone calls were handled last year, which is an average of 369 calls per day. The Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center (Public Safety Answering Point-PSAP) is comprised of 24 men and women who dispatch to five local police agencies/New York State Police; 19 fire departments/Emergency Management Service; three ambulance services; as well as 41 other local, county, state, regional, and federal agencies.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office recognizes these public safety professionals who have worked so hard during this past year. Every day, citizens depend on the skill, expertise and commitment of the 9-1-1 dispatchers. They are the first to take that phone call; the first to provide basic life support in a medical emergency, and also the first to dispatch needed fire, police or EMS responders for the call. They are to be recognized and commended.

November 20, 2014 - 11:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county emergency dispatch center.

A segment from The Batavian's news partner 13WHAM focuses on the high call volume to the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center over the past couple of days.

On average the dispatch center receives 575 calls in a 24-hour period. Those numbers nearly tripled during Tuesday's snow storm to 1,550 calls.

On Thursday, they received nearly a day's worth of calls in half the time. Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher Jason Holman said:

"We dealt with a lot of vehicles off the road, vehicles that were stuck, motorists who were stranded in their vehicles. So the snow has caused a hazard to the folks out there.

"...The increase in mental stress, mental fatigue is something that we're working with and through, and like I said, we're more than capable of doing that and happy to do our part."

November 24, 2013 - 7:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county emergency dispatch center.

Emergency dispatchers have received a number of calls from people calling about the power outage in Stafford and the eastern side of Batavia.

Yes, dispatchers know about the outage. No they don't know when power will be restored.

Calls about the outage should be directed to National Grid.

Power could be out for up to 10 hours, though workers are trying to restore it much more quickly than that.

If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1.

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