Pasquale Travaglini, Staff Writer

There has been a significant lack of 911 “call-takers” in the last several years. Did you know that the starting pay for this profession was originally $20 per hour , but the salary in Denver, Colorado sees numbers closer to $29? Higher pay is one of the few features that can help keep call takers today, as money will “make all the stress worth it.” 

In a recent survey done on 911 professionals from last year, it was revealed that about 80 percent of respondents say that their center is understaffed, and that they deal with burnout and anxiety on a regular basis. This would make sense, considering the notion that call centers receive around 600,000 calls a day, across the nation. Furthermore, some call centers are so understaffed and busy that some calls need to be put on hold or are never answered.

Call takers are the first to talk to the people that are dealing with the crisis at hand so they are also the first voice that the person hears and talks to. About 50% of those that work in the field quit, which can be attributed to the previously mentioned “burnout and anxiety.” Some callers can be verbally abusive, and the call taker could be placed in a morally excruciating situation (Ex: trying to tell someone how to do CPR if someone is not breathing and the caller does not know how to do CPR). 

In all, this job may guarantee instances of help and even saving lives… but people will never know the face of the person that was sent to help the crisis.