Meet your Neighbor ... Lynn Erazmus: Dispatcher for the Emergency Communications Center
FAIRFIELD — The Emergency Communications Center was first established in 1990, and Lynn Erazmus has been there for 28 of those years — and many of the major emergencies in town.
She is one of 15 dispatchers who field nearly 250,000 calls for service each year. The center provides dispatching for police, fire and medical services, and handles thousands of requests from police officers and firefighters. Because the town works with other law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the dispatchers at any given time are monitoring 30 radio channels
Erazmus, a graduate of Sacred Heart Univerity, spoke about the job of a telecommunicator recently.
It was after graduating from Sacred Heart University when Erazmus saw an ad in the paper for a telecommunicator, and decided to apply. The ad, she said, described the job as requiring good listening skills, good typing
skills and the ability to multitask. But, it also requires training — a lot of training.
There is the state’s telecommunicator training and certification, Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing certification, emergency medical dispatch certification, as well as ride alongs with both police and fire departments, and three to six months of sitting with a communications training officer at the console answering 911 calls and dispatching police, fire and medical emergencies.
“Some of the most serious calls that I have handled include the Fairfield University, the Donnelly Jewelry Store robbery, Hurricane Sandy, as well as many nor’easters, drownings, CPR, choking and childbirth calls,” Erazmus said, along with police pursuits, robberies and structure fires.
It’s not an easy job and Erazmus said some of the most important qualities an emergency dispatcher needs are the ability to multitask, stay calm under pressure and to listen “acutely, accurately and with understanding.”
“When people call 911, they are sometimes hysterical or panicked,” Erazmus said. “In order to best help them, I treat the with some empathy, compassion and reassurance that I would show a member of my own family, all while remaining professional and following the appropriate pre-arrival protocols.”