Juliet Bickford goes behind the scenes with Hampton dispatchers

Posted at 1:43 PM, Apr 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-12 15:20:52-04

Hampton, Va. - When you call 911, they're the calm, reassuring voices on the other end of the line.

Dispatchers across Hampton Roads are being honored for taking action as part of National Telecommunicators Week.

NewsChannel 3's Juliet Bickford went behind the scenes with Hampton dispatchers to see how they take multi-tasking to a new level.

"I felt her head. I touched her head. And I just knew it was time. So my mama called 911."

That's when a dispatcher at the Hampton Emergency Communications Center saved the day for Gwen Wiggins and her pregnant daughter, Precious.

"Once I stopped being hysterical and heard her voice, I calmed down. And I knew I had to do what I had to do."

And that's how baby London made her way into the world - right here at home two weeks ago.

"It's a goal. Everybody wants to deliver a baby."

Dispatcher Kimberly Meyer won the Stork Award last year for helping a family deliver a baby over the phone.

"When it happens, it's a really great thing, because you get to hear someone bring another person into the world."

That's just one of the jobs dispatchers tackle in the busy call center.

As part of Telecommunicators Week, Hampton is calling them the golden voices of 911.

They not only take your calls, they're a lifeline for firefighters and police officers in the field.

"When you hear shots on the radio, it affects you. You feel like you're out there with them."

Terri Chambers was named Supervisor of the Year for Hampton Dispatch.

She says working an officer involved shooting was one of her toughest calls.

"There's times after the incident is over you have to get up and walk away. And kind of regroup. But during that whole incident, you have to keep it together."

And then there are the unusual calls.

Dispatcher of the Year Stephanie Speller has taken a few.

"The craziest call I had was a female requesting a medic for a toothpick stuck in her big toe. Or I got a call from a male asking me to help him find more Jesus."

No matter who is on the other line, these dispatchers stay calm, cool, and collected.

And the Wiggins are grateful for that.

"If it wasn't for her, I really don't know what I would have done. Seriously. Just that calmness in her voice calmed me down."