Eau Claire (WQOW)– Dispatchers keep our community safe by sending help during emergencies, and sometimes it’s children on the other side of the phone asking for help.
This week we celebrate dispatchers and all that they do.
Dena Clark, the Eau Claire Emergency center manager, said the most difficult part of the job is never knowing what’s on the other side of the phone.
Clark said they get about 300 calls a day and have three or four dispatchers working at all times.
She said everyday is different, but they do tend to get several calls a day from children. Sometimes it’s because the child dialed 911 on accident. Other times it’s because there’s an emergency.
She said when a dispatcher gets a call from a child, they make sure not to speak too technically, and if the child doesn’t know their address, they’ll ask them simple questions like “what’s the color of your house?” and “is your parent’s car in the driveway?”
Officials said it’s important to teach your child when to call for help.
“Establish what an emergency is. Not just saying you need to call when someone is hurt, because say a friend falls off their bike and scrapes their knee, they’re hurt but not to the level of 911,” Clark said. “We need to make it clear what an actually emergency is to call 911.”
Clark said it’s important to teach your kids simple information like their address, their parents’ names and if anyone in the family has a medical condition.
She said if you or your child dial 911 on accident, you need to stay on the line and let the dispatcher know you dialed the wrong number.