Week set aside to honor 911 workers

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

COVINGTON -- The Covington-Newton County 911 Communications Center is celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. The week of April 10-16 has been set aside to honor telecommunications professionals who aid in providing 911 emergency assistance to citizens across the U.S.

Director Mike Smith released a statement praising his employees for the job they do.

"Every day millions of people depend on the skill, expertise and commitment of public safety telecommunications professionals who help save countless lives by responding to emergency calls, dispatching emergency professionals and equipment, as well as provide moral support to citizens in crisis," the press release stated. "The Covington-Newton County 911 Communications Center provides services for all the public safety agencies in Newton County."

Smith said those calls include those asking for police officers, deputies, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians for all of Newton County, including the cities of Covington, Mansfield, Porterdale, Oxford and Newborn.

"In addition, communications officers monitor the field unit's radio traffic, respond to their individual requests and still answer the 911 and non-emergency lines."

Smith said approximately 20,000 telephone calls per month are logged through the 911 center.

He pointed out that he feels recognition is important to 911 staffers because their part in emergency response is seldom seen.

"The term '911' is often associated with rapid emergency response, poise under pressure, aid and compassion in times of distress and critical decision-making within seconds," he said. "Many people don't stop to think about the seemingly nameless, faceless individuals who answer 911 calls until they experience actual emergencies themselves. These telecommunicators make the difference between life and death in many instances."

The entire month of April is also designated as National 911 Education Month and Smith said the Newton 911 Center extends an invitation for educational tours of the center, or arrangements can be made for a representative to speak to any group. For more information, call 678-342-8790.