Port Houston honored its dispatch team April 9-15 during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Historically, telecommunicators (dispatchers) everywhere have a sometimes thankless job and are the forgotten ones serving the dispatch control room and center until you need help.
Port dispatchers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Dispatchers go through rigorous training to help them deal with high stress, high stakes situations around the clock, as well as frustrated callers. Their bosses note their training doesn’t prepare them for the missed birthdays and holidays, lack of weekends, long nights and double shifts.
The dispatch team handles all emergency and administrative calls dealing with all port facilities. “It is not an understatement to say that the port operations run smoother because of the work our dispatchers do,” said Jessie Dowda, Port Houston Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
In 2016 alone, there were over 48,000 calls into the port dispatch center; 1,500 of those were emergency calls. Some of their other non-traditional duties include recording vessel spotting, managing gate requests, direct discharge, logging vessel work times and issuing wrist bands for Ro-Ro operations.
“I am very proud to work with these dedicated professionals, they work hard to keep the port safe. This job is a calling in life. These dispatchers do their job well. You too would be glad to work with them,” said Robert Unverzagt, Port Houston Telecommunications Supervisor.