Louisville Metro Emergency Services hiring while 911 operators say they're 'overworked'

They're the people that answer your call on what could be your worst day, 911 operators. But with 18 vacancies at Louisville Metro Emergency Services, for 911 operators and dispatchers, some of the call takers say they are overworked.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville Metro Emergency Services is currently hiring and needs to fill 18 positions; seven 911 operator spots and 11 dispatch spots, according to spokesperson Mitchell Burmeister.  The 911 operators for Louisville Metro Emergency Services are the ones who take your call and send help.

“We're the ones that you won't see, but we're the ones that are going to be your very first contact,” said Ruth Williams who's been working as a 911 operator with Louisville Metro Emergency Services for the last ten years. 

She told WHAS11 News it takes a special kind of person to be an operator. 

“It is not for the weak of heart.  A person who has this job has to definitely be quick thinking,” Williams said.

Because of that, they’re short-staffed. Williams said there are only eight 911 operators on each shift. There are 35 in total and they need seven more.  When calls need to be answered 24 hours a day, she said that means a lot of overtime.

“Up to 16 hours a day with only an eight-hour break in between,” she explained. 

Williams said she has worked up to 20 days in a row. She explained it was voluntary overtime, and her choice. WHAS 11 News asked if she felt overworked.    

“Overworked? Every day,” she answered.  “Yes, I do. I mean, but I make a choice every day to come back because this is my passion.”

It's the passion that keeps your emergency her priority.  She said every call is treated with high importance and every call will be answered. 

“We need you to know that we are here. You just have to be patient,” Williams said.

Louisville Metro Emergency Services officials told WHAS 11 News that 95% of calls are answered within 20 seconds.

“Unfortunately there are a lot of times that 911 is clogged up with calls that are non-emergent, so we get them on and off the phone as quickly as we possibly can,” said Williams. 

Louisville Metro Emergency Services is actively working to hire more operators. Currently, 13 people are going through the training process.

It's an eight-week academy in Louisville.  It can take between four and six months before operators are working the phones alone. 

Williams says it's hard, but rewarding work and a career she's meant for. 

“I want to put others first and this is the place to do it,” Williams said.

To apply for a Louisville Metro Emergency Services position, click here.  

© 2017 WHAS-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment