LETTER: Giving credit to the invisible first responders

After reading “Our View” in the Peninsula News Review July 28, I was compelled to offer my opinion. I served as the president and CEO of E-Comm 911 for over nine years and CEO of the equivalent organization (ESTA) in Melbourne, Australia for over four years.

Your editorial is one of the most well-written and accurate portrayals of 911 services that I have read.

When I was at E-Comm 911 and ESTA, we called our staff “The Invisible First Responders.” I have listened to many calls and some would shake the average person to the core. Yet that Invisible First Responder will handle that call calmly, professionally and then move on to the next call. I continue to be amazed at how they do it.

These Invisible First Responders are dedicated to helping others get urgent help for emergency situations. They are highly trained and able to walk callers through extremely traumatic events to a resolution. When they experience prank calls, hang ups after pocket-dials or non-urgent calls, it takes up the time and energy they want to devote to actual emergencies, and I can’t imagine how frustrating that would be.

Your editorial is a great step in the right direction to help amplify this critical information.

Your last paragraph sums up how this group of people do critical, stressful work and besides the voice, they are invisible and easily forgotten after the call is over.

Ken Shymanski

Former CEO, E-Comm 911 and ESTA