SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — When you think of your local heroes, you might think of police, firefighters or EMS, but this week, the spotlight is shined on those who answer your calls for help.

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and Springfield-Greene County is honoring those who work day in and day out to provide quality service to the citizens of the Springfield region.

9-1-1 Emergency Communications Director Kris Inman said those who work at the Springfield-Greene County Public Safety Center and across the country do heroic work that no one here talks about, especially with some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. 

“I’m so proud of our folks here at Springfield-Greene County,” said Inman. “It’s been a really tough year — tough several years. We’ve been down staffing significantly and they just keep raising the bar for the citizens and user agencies of Springfield and Greene County.”

Like many other workforces across America, there is a worker shortage for 9-1-1 telecommunicators.

Despite the low number of staff workers, Inman praises the ability of his team to continue to persevere and put out great work with high efficiency.

He said his biggest problem right now is just getting people to apply to the position but the last couple of hiring cycles have been promising.

Inman tells me they are looking to hire people who are great multi-taskers. Those who work in the food industry are an example of people who he says could be a great fit because of the different tasks they are asked to do every day.

Inman spoke of a fast-food employee he previously recruited for the position.

“He worked the drive through and he would take care of people at the drive-through on the microphone while he was helping people at the register, while he was talking to co-workers and I just happened to notice him. So, we recruited him and he came in here and he has been an absolute rock star here,” Inman said. 

On average they answer roughly five to six thousand calls per week and about 25,000 calls per month, but during severe weather, those numbers can increase in a heartbeat.

“Things here significantly ramp up with severe weather. the calls increase dramatically, and the nature of the calls increases dramatically,” Inman said. “We get calls from different agencies in regards to different storm damage and things of that nature.”