Fundamentally, the work done by those men and women who help facilitate the efforts of Chester County’s fire, police, and emergency medical departments has changed very little, if at all, since the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Call takers answer 9-1-1 phone calls from people who are experiencing problems. They pass the information along to a dispatcher, who contacts the necessary responders. Overseeing this, the supervisors make sure that all runs smoothly and residents get the care and protection they need. Those conditions existed 10 years ago, and will likely be in place 10 years from now.
But two men who help coordinate the efforts of the Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) said in a combined interview recently that to believe that their jobs have not been affected by the events of that day of attack would be to miss a broader message. The job of emergency management personnel in the county is both more focused and more diverse now that it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania, say John Haynes and Robert Kagel. What has happened in the field since that day has allowed the DES to handle the catastrophes it has faced since — record snowfalls, earthquakes, and most recently, Hurricane Irene — in ways the two could only have dreamed about in the days prior.
Haynes, DES’ deputy director of 9-1-1 operations, Kagel, DES deputy director for emergency management, share a combined 50 years of experience in the emergency management field, 31 years in Chester County. Speaking with a reporter, they said the job duties of 9-1-1 and emergency management personnel have not changed since Sept. 11, 2001, although the technology and training they get may have.
“What has changed is the expectations and concerns” of county residents, Haynes said. “The mindset of our citizens has changed somewhat in that what on Sept. 9, 2001, would not have raised an eyebrow, now results in a telephone call” — although he acknowledged that the number and urgency of those calls has diminished somewhat in the intervening years as residents “tempered themselves.” To view the full article visit dailylocal.com or click here.
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