SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino-American public safety dispatcher Burt Wilson was being honored for answering a 911 call from an eight-year old who called to save her grandmother from a stroke.
Wilson is one of two dispatchers who were honored with the 911 Local Heroes Medal of Honor in San Francisco recently.
This ceremony coincided with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week that highlights important lifesaving measures regularly performed by 911 dispatchers.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is celebrated every year during the second week of April.
Pro Football Hall of Famer and supporter of the 911 Local Heroes Tim Brown said, “When you hear these 911 tapes you’re going to understand that these little kids were under some pressure and they did what they had to do to get the situation right and that’s what it’s all about.”
Paul Henderson, Deputy Chief of Staff of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, said, “If you think about it conceptually that this is everyone’s worst day. The very worst day is when you have to call 911 and what happens when you make the call elevates your entire life, potentially. And that’s what we’re here today to celebrate.”
Wilson says that if anyone has to call 911 it is important to try and stay calm and follow the directions of the dispatcher.
“If anyone can learn anything from SF 911 Kids it’s just to listen and answer the questions that 911 is asking because there is a specific set of questions we ask in order to get response and help right away to your loved one,” said Wilson.
And while the job can be a lot to handle at times, Wilson says it is very fulfilling.
“There’s some stress involved to it,” said Wilson. “It’s a lot of sacrifice. It’s long hours, dedication but it’s rewarding especially for a day like today. We’re kind of like the hidden hero but this dispatcher week we’re having and SF 911 Kids offering this appreciation is really gratifying. I feel humbled and honored.”