VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – Inside a dark room, thousands of calls from people in trouble are fielded. The people answering the calls for help are often unsung heroes.

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National Public Safety Telecommunications Week is April 14-20. It highlights the stressful and often overlooked role these professionals play in keeping our communities safe.

At the communications center in Vail, dispatchers handle hundreds of calls each shift. With everyone having a cellphone these days, dispatchers will take hundreds of calls about the same situation at the same time. 911 lines become inundated.

(credit: CBS)

But the people answering these calls are able to work through the fog of the emergency to get help to those in need.

(credit: CBS)

Michelle Aranda has worked as a dispatcher for eight years. On Monday, she trains Chelsea Reuter on her first day on the job. The two are connected by a calling to serve their community.

”If you haven’t stepped in a dispatch room you really don’t know what goes on behind the scenes,” Reuter said.

(credit: CBS)

People have been dropping off thank you cards and putting up signs in support of these behind the scenes call takers.

“I wanted to be able to help people answer the phone and the radio gives me a sense of worth,” Aranda said.

Last year dispatchers answered 122,820 calls for help.


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