New equipment enhances IW dispatchers’ responsesPublished 12:21pm Saturday, May 18, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
ISLE OF WIGHT—Usually before firefighters, police or rescue squad members can come to anybody’s emergency in Isle of Wight County, they first need to know the why, who, where and when of the situation. That’s where Dispatch Supervisor Ginger Bailey and her crew in E-911 Dispatch come into service.
Located in the courts complex, the several women and men are trained to receive and distribute calls. At their fingertips, each has an array computer monitors that serve to take in and record calls, contact the appropriate agency, and even provide directions when needed, to name a few features.
Bailey pointed out the new equipment in the dispatchers’ office.
“When I came in there were four 19-inch monitors that were seven or eight years old,” she said. “I found some money, did some penny pinching and was able to buy all new equipment.”
“This is the heartbeat,” said Mary Dunn, Dispatch Supervisor, who works closely with Bailey. “We are the first responders.”
Anthony Goodwyn of Franklin said this is his first time as a dispatcher. He saw an ad online, applied and got the position.
“It’s not a job everyone can do,” he said, adding that intensive training is required.
“There’s a lot of new training to come, and more certification as Isle of Wight moves into the future,” Bailey said. “This is the lifeline for units out there.”
By the end of the summer, she predicted, sending texts to 911 could be operational.
“There’s so much new tech,” Bailey said. “I want to do upgrades to the radio system, and am trying to get another tower in a couple of years.”
Bailey, who’s been in public safety for 20-plus years, starting with volunteering for the Nansemond-Suffolk Rescue Squad right out of high school, and later did medical transport. She met her husband, Keith, on a call. The couple has two sons, Kyle and Chad.
Dunn began her career path in public safety as a dispatcher for Hunterdale Fire Department in 2000.
“I was in desperate need of a job, and I had no idea what I was getting into,” Dunn said. “I’m very thankful I accepted.”
She is married to Tim Dunn, and they have a six-year-old son.