HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ - Hunterdon County Freeholder J. Matthew Holt spoke at Tuesday’s freeholder meeting about the ongoing dedication of the county’s team of 911 dispatchers who must attend to their jobs, and now often manage and provide resources and emergency services to callers who are concerned about loved ones or individuals experiencing potential infection with COVID-19.
He asked that residents remember when they view COVID-19 numbers listed online and on TV screens, “that our 911 operators are personally affected in the response to many of those individuals requiring emergency service.
“They have a constant, real and direct connection to the pandemic,” he said. “There is a psychological as well as a physical impact on the dispatchers just as there are for our dedicated first responders, medical personnel, police and fire public servants. I ask that you keep these dedicated 911 crews and anyone on the front lines in your thoughts as we weather this storm together.”
Since the start of February, Hunterdon’s 911 Communications Center has received over 36,000 contacts for police, fire and rescue calls.
“The dispatchers can’t shelter in place or work from home, they attend regular shifts every day,” Holt said. “Like everyone headed out to deliver services, they are facing risks during their shifts.”
Holt said there are generally six operators on every shift, and they work three rotating ones to provide the county with coverage every day, 24 hours a day throughout the year.
“While the dispatchers are maintaining social distancing at the communications center during this crisis, the freeholder board recognizes their dedication and professionalism,” Holt said. “This has proven them to be one of the foundational parts supporting our county’s law enforcement and first responders’ efforts to protect our residents.”