James Thalman

James Thalman

Story Vault

By James Thalman

Despite the 12/12/12 rock ’n roll concert at Madison Square Garden to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, unsung that night were the dispatchers who worked long and without breaks answering the flood of 9-1-1 calls that swamped PSAPs throughout the region.

Tony Guido, a veteran dispatcher and an IAED-certified quality assurance officer with North Shore Long Island Jewish Center for Emergency Services (NSHS) in Syosset, N.Y., said perhaps that’s how it should be.

“We’re not really front and center but we’re always there, and proud to be,” Guido said. “Keep in mind, not only did dispatchers handle the storm from their consoles, many took calls regarding their own houses.”

During the height of the storm, neighbors and fellow dispatchers texted photos of homes owned by dispatchers showing damage ranging from flooding to total losses. Based on accounts of center supervisors in the New York City metropolitan area, at least 20 dispatchers lost their homes due to fire, wind, and rain.

That’s why the 911 CARES project is facilitating support and sharing needs received from area public safety communications centers. Donations are still being accepted, and a list of losses suffered in the wake of the storm shows the need will continue for some time. 911 CARES asks that donations be sent to:

FDNY Communications


83-98 Woodhaven Blvd

Woodhaven, NY 11421

Monetary donations can be made online via 911 CARES at www.911cares.com, where continuing updates are posted.