Local Voices

“911, What’s the address of the emergency?”

We are a set of individuals that is rarely seen, only heard. We are the lifeline of our community’s public safety system. We are versatile, quickly moving from different tasks and processes sometimes within seconds. We are the calm and compassionate voice on the other side of the phone or radio. But sometimes when the incident is over, we weep because we know members of our community are struggling. We are the first First Responder. We are Public Safety Telecommunicators.

Across our country, we find similar problems faced by those in public safety communications centers. Being short-staffed, long hours, and increased stress just to name a few. In the mountains of Southwest Virginia, you find that these problems remain the same however our approach and outlook are different. We build a close and meaningful relationship with our surrounding areas. These relationships allow us to foster better leaders and increased interoperability when an incident occurs. We feel the impact when another community faces a struggle or tragedy. We are a cohesive unit, not a set individual communications centers.

It is not only the close relationships that sets Southwest Virginia apart. Studies have shown that the communities of Southwest Virginia face more economic hardships than many parts of the Commonwealth. Many would view this as a negative, however, that’s not the case it builds generations of resourcefulness. When problems arise, we tap into our innovative and creative problem-solving skills. We also have a deep sense of compassion and empathy; we know what it means to struggle because we too have struggled. We are tenacious, we will not stop until our mission is completed no matter what barriers stand in our way.

We are proud Public Safety Telecommunicators of Southwest Virginia, and we make a difference in our community each and every day.

Toby Akers
Communications Officer
NRV 911

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