Shelly S. is a local 911 dispatcher who has worked in the Okanagan for the last 10 years. (Penticton RCMP)

Shelly S. is a local 911 dispatcher who has worked in the Okanagan for the last 10 years. (Penticton RCMP)

Penticton RCMP recognize 2 local 911 dispatchers

“I am in this job to help people and make people feel safe,” said dispatcher Shelly S.

The Penticton RCMP is recognizing two local emergency dispatchers for the work they do as part of 911 Awareness Week April 10-16.

“I wanted to learn why they became 911 dispatchers, what a memorable call for service was, and what they do to take care of their mental and physical health. I admire how resilient they are. Emergency calls come at all times and they never fail to answer each with compassion, professionalism, and skill,” said Const. Dayne Lyons, media relations officer for Penticton RCMP.

Born and raised in Penticton, Alana W. has been working as a dispatcher for the last 10 years, where she has handled many calls including some that she says will stay with her for the rest of her life.

“One call I am proud of was a high-risk weapons call,” Alana said. “All resources were deployed and everyone on high alert. Once the call was over, the responding police officers thanked me on the radio for a job well done and stressed to me how much they appreciated my calm radio voice during the dispatch.”

Alana W said given the high-stress job, it’s always good to find outlets to de-stress.

“Besides obvious visits to see my psychologist to ‘unload my backpack’ as I call it, I find travel and spending time outdoors with my pup is my best therapy. I try to check off a new bucket list country every year (last year was Antarctica), a bucket list ski hill abroad every winter (last season was Switzerland), and as many bucket list Okanagan hikes as I can every summer (Pincushion is my favourite). “

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Shelly S. started working as a dispatcher to make money for college and ended up falling in love with the job. After moving to the South Okanagan in 2012, Shelly has been working out of the Southeast District’s communications centre.

“I am in this job to help people and make people feel safe, so when those calls from people that are particularly vulnerable come in, it has a lot more impact – it’s the calls with kids, seniors and animals that get us,” Shelly said. “I did have a call on 911 recently and a very sweet young voice said, ‘Is this the police?’ I said, ‘Yes, it is how can we help you?’ and she said, ‘I just wanted to thank you for being in our community.’”

During the next week, police and dispatchers are asking the public to take the ‘911 Pledge’ and commit to making the right call. If you dial 911 be sure to know your location and avoid accidental calls to help ensure critical emergency resources are available for those who need them most.

You can take the 911 Pledge today at 9-1-1pledge.ca.

Last year, E-Comm received more than two million calls to 911— more than 5,000 calls per day on average.

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