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Dispatchers from across the state took part in SIMCOM 2017, a simulated communications exercise that emphasized emergency communications between local, state and federal agencies. Gov. Scott Walker has declared April 8-14 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Submitted photo

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker has declared April 8-14 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The week is designed to recognize Wisconsin’s dispatchers and communicators who play a vital role in public safety.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Wisconsin’s Homeland Security advisor, joins the governor in thanking dispatchers for the important job they do. Last fall, the Office of Emergency Communications was created within the Department of Military Affairs to help coordinate interoperability programs in Wisconsin, including Next Generation 911 — programs that will provide new resources for dispatchers.

“Dispatchers are the unseen heroes,” Dunbar said. “They are the calming voice people hear when they dial 9-1-1. Dispatchers and telecommunicators coordinate the emergency assistance from fire, law enforcement and EMS. They are a highly trained group that help those in need anytime day or night.”

Currently Wisconsin has 109 public safety answer points (PSAPs) or 9-1-1 dispatcher centers that receive more than 2.9 million emergency and non-emergency calls each year. Dispatchers not only assist the public but also provide support to public safety agencies utilizing telephones, radios, computers and other communications devices.

“Today most 911 calls are made from cellphones which does not necessarily show where the call is from,” said Office of Emergency Communications Director Tom Czaja. “Next Generation 911 will provide more tools for our dispatchers that will help them locate where the call originated from and to be able to get emergency help to the scene to help save lives.”