Apr. 10 – 16 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and Strathcona County is taking some time to recognize the people on the other end of 9-1-1 calls.
Satina Koscielny is the supervisor of the municipal operational communications centre in Strathcona County. Originally from Manitoba, she got into the field after a friend told her about a job opening.
“I’ve always wanted to join the profession of just helping people, helping the community that I live in,” said Koscielny.
“[They] encouraged me to apply, so kind of on a whim I did. I was successful, and I enjoyed it ever since.”
She's since worked at the communication centre in Regina and Edmonton before coming to Strathcona County. Koscielny explained one of the most difficult parts of the job is taking calls from the community, knowing the person on the other end of the line could be a friend or family member.
However, the most rewarding part is learning that a call had a good outcome.
“It gives you that satisfaction that you did your job, and you did a job well done.”
In addition to fielding calls, they're responsible for the well-being of all the officers in the county; operators check in on officers at least every 90 minutes to ensure their safety during their shift.
Koscielny noted a common misconception that people who call 9-1-1 would call back believing they were speaking to the same person. Strathcona County operators work in four teams of four people, including a pool of casual workers.
“They can look up every file that we’ve taken, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about, but I just know that’s a common misconception.”
She also stressed the importance of staying on the line when accidentally calling 9-1-1.
“It’s very important you stay on the line so we can complete our job and ensure everybody is ok and so that if police are not required, we don’t have to send them.”
Provincewide, operators took a total of 796,240 calls for service and opened 354,440 files within Alberta RCMP jurisdiction.