May is almost over, for many residents you may be unaware,but the month marks an important milestone for Durham Region’s emergency services.
25 years ago on May 1st 1991, ‘Baby’ by Amy Grant was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, “One Good cop’ starring Michael Keaton was top of the box office, Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers threw his seventh no-hitter shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays 3-to-0 and Brian Mulroney was the Prime Minister of Canada. For Durham Region residents this day is significant because it marked the first 9-1-1 call ever placed in Durham Region.
“When this began 911 calls were from 99% of landlines”
Gord Taschak was one of the 1st 911 communicators for the Region. On that first day, the service received 450 calls. Tashuck says over his 25 years with the company he has received many calls that were not emergencies.
“Barking dogs, parking, noisy parties it runs the gamut. Directions to anywhere.”
And of course the last quarter century has also seen major technological changes.
“When I started we used to do everything on paper… It’s much easier now I don’t have to run around on the floor and all that stuff you just do it on a computer. Life is much easier”
Before 9-1-1 was implemented in the Region, citizens in distress had a lot more numbers to remember to call for help
“They would still call in but it would be 905-579-1234. That number still works if they call it, it will be directed to our 911 dispatchers”
Today the region was celebrating the 911 services and while the emergency crews were arriving to help take in the festivities… they had to respond to a call.
“We just pulled in and we are juST getting out of the truck and got called out right away to a public school up the road for a 9/11 unknown and not much happened..”
Each day the 911 dispatchers receive at least 40 calls that are pocket dials . There is one message they want to get across. and that is, think, before you call.
“Call 911 if you need emergency help. Don’t call 911 because there is a dog barking somewhere in your neighrboudhood.”
Gord, meanwhile, will say goodbye to a job he has loved in a few weeks, when he retires.