911 dispatcher receives Certificate of Honor
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STANDISH — Yvonne King, a 911 dispatcher at Arenac County Central Dispatch, was honored last week for her performance during a call received on Nov. 7, 2009.
The call came from a man whose camper trailer was on fire. The man didn’t know where he was, but King said she was able to find the location through landmarks and turns on the state land trails.
However, King said one of her biggest challenges was keeping the man and his son away from the fire. They were concerned with saving their belongings and would repeatedly run back toward the camper, which was still attached to his truck.
“You could hear flames in the background when they would get close,” King said.
King said she had to tell the man to move away from the fire over 20 times, and she reminded him that his things could be replaced but he couldn’t be.
Two propane tanks on the camper also exploded, but because of King’s persistence, the man and his son were far enough away at the time to avoid injury.
King said this was the first call where she had to talk someone out of going near a fire.
She said talking people down during calls usually happens with assault victims and suicide calls.
Steve Wuelfing, the director of Arenac County Central Dispatch, honored King with the Certificate of Honor last week, which recognizes “outstanding performance of duty under unusual or difficult conditions.”
King said she was very surprised when she received the honor. She had been busy with training and hadn’t been on the phones as often as usual, so she wasn’t expecting an award.
In Wuelfing’s speech during the presentation of the award, he stated that King’s “quick thinking and persistence in looking out for the welfare of the caller and his son can be credited for avoiding disaster.”