JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Every 14 minutes and 30 seconds West Metro Fire Rescue responds to an emergency.
Calls and responses are dispatched to West Metro Fire Protection District in part by Jeffcom 911, Jefferson County’s 911 center which was regionalized in 2018 to include 23 law enforcement and fire agencies.
“Jeffcom 911 what is the address of the emergency?” asked a call taker on Super Bowl Sunday 2021.
“I’m at the corner of Morrison Road and Indiana Street. There’s an unattended brush fire pretty much right at this intersection,” the caller responded.
A wind-whipped brush fire in Bear Creek Lake Park near Fox Hollow Golf Course prompted dozens of people driving by to call 911.
“We do have multiple calls coming in. I’ll add your information here,” said a call taker.
The 911 caller added, “It’s growing fast with the wind.”
Wind pushed the fire across 535 acres threatening homes, structures and forcing evacuations.
“It’s our biggest wildfire thus far this year,” said Ronda Scholting with West Metro Fire Rescue.
The district’s 17 stations have responded to 76 grass and 61 structure fires this year through May.
Getting the correct address is a crucial part of a quick emergency response generated by call takers.
“That is why we ask for the address twice.” said Bess Joyce the training manager with the call center.
Jeffcom has 18 openings for call takers who also dispatch law enforcement and fire responses.
A current academy with 10 trainees will graduate later in June from the classroom and move into the call center for additional training, Trainees will answer real 911 calls while being shadowed by another employee for an additional 8 weeks.
Jeffcom 911 will hold two additional academies this year, one starting Aug. 23 and another toward the end of October. The call center hopes to be at full staff for the first time since opening three years ago.
“It’s hard to teach people how to not let their emotions get the best of them,” said Joyce “Some of them make it through training and then realize in a week it’s not for them.”
Trainees’ take on their first assignment answering calls from a new fireworks hotline.