“I know exactly where I was on 9/11—in my office, standing at my desk. Dispatch informed me that a plane had hit the first tower, and when the second plane hit, we (Richmond Ambulance Service in Richmond, Virginia) went into emergency mode.
I was so proud of my dispatchers. We expected a spike in calls and made sure we were fully staffed in the dispatch center and in the field. I was impressed by their total professionalism in the face of what was going on not only 90 miles away (in Washington, D.C.), but also what was going on in our city limits. They were dealing with this on top of our day-to-day operations, plus being worried about their families. There was never any wavering about what to do or how to do it. They were the real deal.”
Jerry Overton is President of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch®. Overton extensive emergency medical services career includes 19 years as executive director of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) in Virginia and similar positions with the Metropolitan Ambulance Service Trust (MAST) and Kansas City EMS, both in Kansas City, Mo. Overton was among the first directors of a large EMS to embrace the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS®).