Tulsa 911 Center Facing Staff Shortages
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa's 911 center is facing a shortage of people. And that could mean the difference between life and death.
"When the call comes in it's important that we have enough people to handle the volume," said Belinda Mcghie, Public Safety Communications Systems Manager for the Tulsa 911 Center.
And that can make it difficult on dispatchers who handle hundreds of calls a day.
"We handle calls on people's worst days so they're going to call us when they absolutely need us so it's really important for us to get the most accurate information as quickly as possible," said Jesus Villarreal, a Telecommunicator with Tulsa’s 911 Center.
It can also make an already taxing job even more difficult.
"It puts a stress on the call takers and the people that are calling in," said Mcghie.
Which is why the center needs to fill about 30 positions. Right now, the center is able to hire for 96 positions.
"Of those 96 positions we only have 65 to answer the call for all three shifts," said Mcghie.
And if applicants make it through a test, background check, and a few other steps, they'll be able to join the ranks of those who choose to help people during emergencies.
"We are actually the first responder we take the call and then what we do it and we determine what type the call is if it is an actual type of an emergency and we dispatch out the Police Department and the fire department or we transfer the call to medical," said Mcghie.
"Usually it's a good feeling when you get home and you reflect on what you did during the day," said Villarreal.