911 operators being honored with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

911 texting: Some cities experimenting with call-free system
Posted at 2:42 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 19:07:20-04

Nearly 1,000 times each day, people in Southern Nevada call 9-1-1 to report a fire or request medical assistance.

When a person calls 9-1-1 to report a fire or medical emergency in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas or Clark County, the call is handled by the Combined Communications Center located at Las Vegas Fire & Rescue headquarters.

Each year, one week in April is selected to recognize public safety communicators, usually known as 9-1-1 operators or dispatchers, for their performance in helping to save lives and property.

This year, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is April 11-17.

The Combined Communications Center is the fire and medical 9-1-1 dispatch center for the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, unincorporated Clark County, Moapa Valley Fire District and the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District.

The center handles nearly 700,000 calls yearly for all of Clark County in Southern Nevada, except for the cities of Henderson, Mesquite and Boulder City. The center is responsible for approximately two million residents and 40 million visitors each year.

In addition, the center receives emergency calls for the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport, Laughlin, all rural areas including Mount Charleston, Red Rock Conservation Area and all the rural communities in the county. The center covers calls for approximately 6,000 square miles in Southern Nevada.

The center is managed by a committee made up of members from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, North Las Vegas Fire Department, Clark County Fire Department, Moapa Valley Fire Protection District and the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District.

In 2020 operators at the center answered more than 670,000 calls. Of those calls, 456,086 were emergency in nature and 214,065 were non-emergencies.

The center dispatched emergency crews 459,345 times during the year.

Last year was an especially difficult year for the dispatchers in the center. While most people were able to stay safe at home during the early part of the pandemic, the center had to be open and responsive. People were calling for COVID-19 medical assistance. Just like crews that had to be on duty in the fire stations at all times to answer calls, the same was true for the dispatchers that notified the firefighters and emergency medical personnel where to go.

Do not use social media such as Facebook, Twitter or text messages to report an emergency. Use 9-1-1 instead and talk with a 9-1-1 dispatcher.

Never hang up until the dispatcher tells you to, as additional information could be needed.