Riley Co. dispatcher a 'behind the scenes' hero

OPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- There is one call that Riley County Dispatcher Dawn Wickizer will never forget.

A young Riley county teen was attempting suicide and Wickizer took the call.

"I can't get the screams… I still hear him screaming whenever I get that call,” she said.

The call ended with good news.

"We were able to direct the officers and they were able to save him," Wickizer said.

As a 911 Dispatcher for 12 years, Wickizer is no stranger to saving lives behind the scenes. Many times, she will never see the faces of the lives she saved, a reality of many 911 dispatchers.



Police, dispatcher help mother who called 911 about hungry kids

CAMDEN COUNTY, N.J. — A dispatcher and police officer helped a mother after she called 911 to report she had no money to buy her children food.

NBC Philadelphia reported that dispatcher Tondaleya Bagby overheard another dispatcher having a conversation with the mother of four.

“I had went to local churches and everything trying to find food for my children,” the woman said in the 911 call. “My kids have not eaten since yesterday.”

“Well this is for police only,” the dispatcher said. “It’s not for this.”

Bagby, who has children of her own, said the call made her feel for the mother.



A Look at the Realities of Life as a First Responder

"It's a lot of fun to watch the new guys on hot calls," remarked firefighter/paramedic Shane Castle, a veteran with more than 10 years at the department.

He was sitting with Funicello on a Saturday morning at the station dining table, the unofficial gathering place at every firehouse. The two talked about what Funicello learned in school, compared to what Castle has picked up over the years. Talking about a recent car crash, they explained how the driver complained of neck pain but couldn't tell them what happened. While Funicello checked vital signs and looked for other clues, apparatus operator Doug Ketelson, another veteran, noticed a tiny star-shaped crack on the windshield, just about exactly at head level to the victim. He made the call that her head had struck the window. And he was right.

Ketelson says every call he has ever gone on runs like a slide show in his head. He'll replay the slides afterward. Other firefighters talk about running through drills in their sleep



Gov. Scott announces Florida First Responder Appreciation Week

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Gov. Rick Scott has declared this week as Florida First Responder Appreciation Week.

Scott signed a proclamation for the week on Monday. Thanks to the proclamation, January 22-26 will now be recognized as Florida First Responder Appreciation Week.

“Florida is home to the world’s best first responders who never hesitate to keep others safe. Every day they dedicate their lives to protect and serve Florida families," said Scott. "I encourage all Floridians to thank first responders for their service to their families and communities.”

To read Governor Scott’s proclamation, click HERE.



Inside Houston’s frenzied 911 call center

HOUSTON — Some of the callers are panicking; others exude a strange serenity. One moment, Harvey’s floodwaters are pouring into a home, the next a motorist is trapped on an inundated interstate. A woman goes into labor in a washed-out neighborhood, and a split-second later, a family seeks rescue from their attic. The pleas for help stream in hour after hour, call after call after call.

In the thick of a paralyzing storm and its aftermath, the weight of this swamped city’s problems are landing at the cavernous 911 call center, where operators are racing to keep up as people dial in by the tens of thousands.

“This is like nothing we’ve ever experienced before,” operator Erika Wells says, in a short reprieve between calls.



Hurricane Harvey: How Local First Responders Are Helping

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA—Earlier this week, Fairfax County first responders deployed to the Houston area along with other search and rescue teams to assist with Tropical Storm Harvey rescue efforts. And as we've seen devastating stories like the toddler found clinging to her drowned mother, every life the team has saved makes all of the different.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue team is part of the Virginia Task Force 1 Swiftwater team responding after the hurricane devastated the Texas coast, killing at least 39.

So far the 14 Fairfax County first responders that are swiftwater trained have been rescuing residents from flooded homes in Kingwood, Texas. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue reported Thursday that the VA-TF1 team has rescued six people and two pets that were stranded in flooded homes. The team also went back for a resident's three pets and people's medications and other personal belongings. 



Houston Restaurants Mobilize To Feed Relief Workers, Victims In Harvey’s Aftermath

While first responders and civilian volunteers helped rescue thousands of Houstonians from dangerous high-water situations, the city’s restaurants quickly mobilized to ensure that every single volunteer and public servant had something to eat.

The efforts began over the weekend, with local chefs and restaurants making surprise deliveries of food to shelters and police stations across the city. On Monday, employees at Frank’s Pizza braved the flooding in Downtown to bring piping-hot pizzas to Houston police officers. On Monday, when the police department’s official Twitter account announced that it was looking to buy meals from local restaurants to feed its employees, dozens of restaurants replied, offering to feed first responders for free.

A number of local restaurants, including Down House and West Alabama Ice House, have served as drop-off centers for donated goods. In order to fully coalesce these efforts, Chef Richard Knight, formerly of Hunky Dory, and Houston Food Finder’s Phaedra Cook took to Facebook to mobilize service industry professionals in order to provide help in an organized fashion. At the same time, Knight was using his vehicle and canoe to assist with water rescues.



Command post staged in S.A. for first responders headed to affected areas

A huge operation and massive rescue efforts are staged at Bexar County Grounds. Lots behind the Freeman Coliseum are housing thousands of first responders from across the country. There are about 100 trucks on those lots headed to the coast.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said that they are staged and ready to respond to affected areas.

“They’re loaded up with meals, ready to eat, and medical supplies,” Judge Wolff said.

The state brought in first responders came from across the U.S. to help with rescue and recovery from Harvey.

“We’ve got probably about 1,000 or so first responders that we house here at the Bexar County grounds. We feed them, house them, they have a place to take a shower and everything,” Judge Wolff noted.

KENS 5 spoke with two EMS responders from as far as Las Vegas and South Carolina.