Florence County honors 911 dispatcher

Florence County honors 911 dispatcher

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - From the moment you call 9-1-1, crucial events are taking place to make sure that you get help as soon as possible.

April 13-17 is National Telecommunicator Week, which honors those who work in 9-1-1 centers across the state.

Every second of every day there is someone inside the 9-1-1 center to take your emergency calls.

Jeffery Matthews has been serving Florence County for four years, on Tuesday, he was awarded for his life-saving efforts.

" It's pretty amazing because you have a bunch of people we have seven to eight people to a shift and it's just an honor because they picked me out of all the other candidates," said Matthews.

Matthews' peers chose him to be awarded dispatcher of the year.

He said while it is an honor, there are scary moments that come with the job.

"It's scary at first because you don't know what's going on you don't know if someone has been shot, if someone is dead…your mom -- I mean you have family members that call 9-1-1," Matthews said.

Matthews said one of the most important aspects of his job is keeping the caller calm, so that all the correct agencies and resources can be dispatched.

"You want to try and calm the caller; that's the biggest thing because they are scared," Matthews said.

Matthews said if you need to call 911 there are several things you should try and keep in mind to help dispatchers help you.

"Just know where you are...it's easier for us to know where you are," Matthews said.

Matthews suggests looking for cross streets and street names.

"You can tell us what's going on you know just give us details and stay calm and just assist us. Anything we ask you just do it."

The new digital broadcast system that replaced the county's old analogue systems, which was outdated, is working without errors.

Emergency personnel said that system is fully operational and has not had any hiccups.

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