Dispatchers all over the nation are being honored this week.

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week looks to honor and celebrate the responders behind the scenes. And dispatch is more than just a phone call. It’s the first line of contact for help, which is critical in an emergency situation.

“They’re behind the scenes. Often not seen, heard, but often not seen,” says Chancy Huntzinger, Newton Co. Central Dispatch Director..

“You know, often the unsung heroes behind the mic,” says Benjamin Jessip, Joplin Police Communications Manager.

Dispatchers— the “first” first responders in an emergency or non-emergency situation.

“We dispatch police, fire, and medical, and answer all emergency and non-emergency calls,” says Chancy Huntzinger.

But the job is more than just taking calls. Being a dispatcher requires medical training and precise instructions to make sure help can be given to someone, even over the phone.

“We can provide life saving instructions over the phone. Anything from CPR to childbirth, delivery,” says Benjamin Jessip.

“We’ve got dispatch collecting information for us on the way, so that we have it when we arrive on scene,” says Chris Jennings, Newton Co. Sheriff.

“Without them we don’t get to where we need to be we can’t help. Sometimes those dispatchers will give critical information to make that situation better, so basically we couldn’t do our jobs without them,” says Jim Furgerson, Joplin Fire Department Chief.

A job that is often overlooked, but always needed.

“They’re dedicated. They work hard. 24 hours a day 7 days a week just like we do,” says Chris Jennings.

“It takes a unique person and a special skill set in order to take these calls on a daily basis,” says Benjamin Jessip.

“We’re truly appreciative of all their efforts and like I said a lot of times they get unrecognized and we appreciate them,” says Jim Furgerson.

Joplin Fire Chief Jim Furgerson says he even provides lunch and dinner for the dispatch one day during this week to say thank you.