September 16, 2014

Central dispatchers honored for service during storm

Courtesy photo
From left, Yvonne King, Stephanie Jammer and Patricia Tremble hold their awards. They were honored for their actions during a thunderstorm on July 16, when Central Dispatch was struck by lightning.
Posted

STANDISH — Residents of Arenac County should feel a little safer these days.

Arenac County Central Dispatchers Patricia Tremble, Stephanie Jammer, and Yvonne King have been honored for their work during the severe thunderstorm that hit the area on July 16.

The thunderstorm ripped through Arenac County leaving damage across the area. During the storm, Central Dispatch was hit by lightning, making all equipment inoperable.

That’s when the dispatchers sprang into action.

Jammer said that she and Tremble were busy and both on the phone when the lightning struck.

“There was so much chaos that we almost could not think,” Jammer said. “It was overwhelming.”

Tremble said they had to do everything in their power to get help to people.

“The only fear I had was if someone had a problem and we could not get help to them,” Tremble said.

With everything shut down at one time, Tremble said she went though everything that needed to be done. She said equipment needed to be checked, and the radio company had to be called, and “thankfully,” the phones reset themselves she said.

Meanwhile, King was off duty and had to be called in.

“I was shocked when I heard lightning hit,” King said. “We had to get the radios back up and running.”

King said it was important to get the radios working and make sure the computers were operating properly.

Jammer said they had to think fast to keep from missing calls.

“My biggest fear was missing emergency calls. We had a lot coming in because of the storm,” Jammer said.

Tremble said she had been through a situation like this before when a tornado hit in AuGres a few years ago.

King said by the time she got to Central Dispatch, Jammer and Tremble had the situation almost under control.

“There was a lot to catch up on. We had to contact our director and the radio company because they were using hand-held portable radios,” King said.

Director Steve Wuelfing said he was in Bay City at a meeting while this was happening, but he said he knew the storm was coming.

“With the phones down they could not call to page me,” he said. “By the time I got there, they had all the backup equipment running.”

Wuelfing said the team showed that they were adaptable in a stressful situation.

“They showed resourcefulness and stayed calm under pressure,” he said.

For their actions, Jammer and Tremble received a certificate of merit, while King was given a certificate of commendation.

“It’s so easy for people to tell you when you do something wrong; it’s nice to be appreciated,” Jammer said.

“I am proud of how the girls handled the situation,” King said. “I feel honored to be chosen to be a part of this.”

She added that she is not sure if people can be prepared for a situation like this. She said you just have to go with it.

“Getting this shows that people appreciate us and that we are doing our job and doing it correctly,” Tremble said. “You do what you got to do.”

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