Rowan County 911 awarded 2023 communications center of year in state

Published 12:10 am Sunday, April 16, 2023

SALISBURY — This past week was National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week, which honors emergency dispatchers around the nation who play an instrumental role in coordinating first responders and helping those in need.

On top of that, Rowan County 911 has something to celebrate: the 2023 award for communications center of the year from the North Carolina chapter of the National Emergency Number Association.

Phil York, the division chief for Rowan County 911, gave all the credit to his team of dispatchers for bringing home the award. Even though his team is short-staffed, with 31 positions filled and five vacancies, York said he’s got a core group that “just gets it done.”

“I am very pleased for my staff. To be honest it wasn’t any of us in administration. Those guys are the ones who put in all the long hours and answer the phones and do all the things that put them over the top. I am just so very proud of them,” York said. “They make sure every phone call gets the service that it needs and that every unit gets the service they need, regardless of how many people are available. I mean they just do it all. I can’t give them enough accolades, they just do it all.”

York and his staff were notified about winning the award on Wednesday and will travel to Wilmington for the N.C. Public Safety Communications Conference on April 30 through May 3 to accept and bring the award back to the county.

The National Emergency Number Association is a nonprofit focused on empowering “its members and the greater 911 community to provide the best possible emergency response through standards development, training, thought leadership, outreach, and advocacy,” according to the NENA website. There are 50 chapters, one in each state, as well as in Ontario, the Canadian West Coast and Puerto Rico, and each provides education, training and certifications for 911 professionals, advises lawmakers on 911 issues, develops standards for technology and operations for dispatchers and informs the public on the importance and proper use of 911.