Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Rachel Haslett is a supervisor at the Public Safety Communications Centre in Saint John. Image: Brad Perry

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

By Brad Perry Apr 15, 2024 | 11:00 AM

They are known by many as the first “first responders” and “heroes behind the headset.”

Those who work behind the scenes in the public safety community are being recognized this week.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week takes place across Canada from April 14 to 20.

The operators serve as a critical link between citizens and provide the community with access to the help they need.

They answer emergency calls, dispatch first responders and equipment, and render life-saving assistance, among other duties.

“It is rewarding to know at times that you’re talking to people on the worst day of their life and that you’ve helped them even just a little bit, even if it’s just getting a police car there, a fire truck,” said Rachel Haslett, who is in her 29th year as an operator.

Haslett currently works as a supervisor at the Public Safety Communications Centre in Saint John.

It is one of six centres throughout New Brunswick that handle 911 calls, as well as municipal police and fire dispatch. Ambulance NB and RCMP have their own dispatch centres.

Haslett and her team answer 911 calls regionally from St. Stephen to Sussex. They also provide emergency and non-emergency call-taking and dispatching services for te Saint John Police Force, Saint John Fire Department, and 34 other fire departments in the region.

“We are the first step to the whole first responder process,” she said. “We take the call, we determine what the situation is, and then we get the right people there as quickly as they need to be.”

For those considering a career as a 911 operator and dispatcher, Haslett said there are some qualifications that would be beneficial.

“Somebody that’s very flexible and a good multitasker because, of course, we’re answering the phone, we’re listening to a radio, we’re listening to a co-worker and what they’re doing. So multitasking is a must-have and, of course, being a bilingual province, there’s a requirement for French-speaking.

“If you’re looking for something that is forever changing and that you do want to help and you like something that is fast-paced, this is definitely for you,”