ECC Gives Job Seekers At Open House A Behind-The-Scenes Look
Posted: December 14, 2012
HARRISONBURG — At one time, Michael Sherman had aspirations of being a police officer.
But once he got involved with emergency dispatching, or “communicating,” and saw he could be involved in multiple aspects of public safety, he was hooked.
Now a supervisor at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Communications Center, the 30-year-old McGaheysville resident oversees calls for fire, rescue and law enforcement in the city and county and towns within.
“You have your hand in all of it in some respect,” he said Thursday during an open house at the ECC held for prospective employees.
More than 30 people visited the 911 communications center, located in the Public Safety Building in downtown Harrisonburg, during the event, organizers said.
From today through Jan. 3, the ECC will recruit applicants to add to the pool it draws from when a position becomes open. To apply, go to www.harrisonburgva.gov/employment.
Dee Dee Sencindiver, ECC operations manager, said the event was held to recruit potential hires and provide a window into what goes on at the center.
Some people think there’s just one person sitting by a phone taking calls, Sencindiver said.
“Still in our society people don’t understand what this job entails,” she said.
The center employs 45 full- and part-time workers, mostly dispatchers, or communicators. Eight communicators work each shift at the 24-hour center, taking calls, dispatching the appropriate authorities and even giving emergency medical instructions when necessary.
“This is a job where you can touch lives every day,” Sencindiver said. “What may be routine for us … could be the worst thing that’s ever happened to someone.”
The job can be stressful, Sherman said, but it’s also gratifying.
“It’s very rewarding at the end of the day,” he said. “It’s worth all the stress you put into it and the blood, sweat and tears.”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or firstname.lastname@example.org