Members of Scarborough’s TRIAD, a senior citizen group working with law enforcement, learned about the intricacies of the dispatch center during the group’s regular meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Jay Sanborn, Scarborough’s communications supervisor, told the group that the dispatch serves as the heart of the town. It handles all emergency calls in Scarborough and also serves as notification to a number of town departments regarding non-emergency problems like sewer and road issues.

Each year Scarborough dispatch answers 4,000 fire and rescue calls and 27,000 police calls, and have responded to 454 emergency calls since July 1.

The town always has two dispatchers on duty and many of them are members of the fire department, reserve police officers or EMTs working for the rescue department.

“It’s nice for them to have some background to know what they are talking about,” Sanborn said.

In addition, all of the town’s dispatchers are certified in emergency medicine and can assist callers over the phone until help arrives. On several occasions dispatchers have been able to save some people through their instructions, Sanborn said.

Sanborn also provided some hints to callers when using the 911 system. He told the audience to remain as calm as possible and to be as descriptive as possible when discussing the situation. But the first rule of calling with an emergency is telling the dispatcher where you are located.

“The dispatcher becomes the eyes and ears for the officer going to the call,” Sanbon said.

Sanborn also cautioned people not to call 911 for non-emergency situation, although this does occur. He said that if the caller believes that police, fire or rescue are required immediately then calling 911 is a safe decision.

Scarborough Communication Supervisor Jay Sanborn discussing the town

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