If you've gotten into a traffic accident, heard gunshots out in the woods or lost track of your farm animals, you've probably talked to them.
Fauquier's 9-1-1 dispatachers get their due this week, recognized as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week by Fauquier supervisors at last week's meeting.
From the basement of the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office, the county's 24 dispatchers work 12-hour shifts, every day of the year, coordinating the county's fire, rescue and law enforcement workers. They are the first point of contact for everything from pigs blocking traffic on rural roads to house fires.
Last year, the county's dispatchers handled 112,586 calls for service. When their talents become necessary, the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office website recommends the following:
-Say where you are. "Where is your emergency?" is one of the first questions dispatchers will ask, and for good reason. If they learn nothing else, they still know that someone at the stated location is in distress and will send emergency workers to investigate. Dispatchers will ask for cross streets, a physical description of buildings or nearby landmarks and other details to help them decide which emergency resources are closest to you.
-Say what is happening. "We will ask specific questions related to the situation," reads a FAQ on the Sheriff's Office website. "Sometimes responders may need special equipment, and not all vehicles carry the same kind of stuff. We want to send you the right help."
For more guidelines on getting the fastest response from calling 9-1-1, read the FAQ here.