CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 9-1-1 Dispatchers are usually the first point of contact when people need help during an emergency.
Metrocom's Dispatch Team serves 340,000 citizens in Nueces County, and the number is steadily growing as the city's population increases.
Being a dispatcher is a job like no other, answering the calls of those in desperate need of help.
"We just have to remember that people are counting on us," Dispatch Supervisor Carrie Guajardo said.
"We get all different kinds of situations. We never know, you know, what kind of day it's going to be," Dispatcher Tony Martinez said.
There are 60 people on staff at Metrocom Dispatch Service for Nueces County.
"We have four mostly twelve-hour shifts," Guajardo said.
For 13 years, Martinez has been a dispatcher.
"Sometimes it's a little scary. It can be a little overwhelming, but with experience, it gets a lot easier," Martinez said.
On average, dispatchers answer 50,000 calls a month.
"Our annual calls have increased ever since I've started working here, so I've been here seven and a half years," Guajardo said.
With more calls received, dispatchers are in high demand.
"We are always looking for people to join our team because the job is very multi-task excessive and it can be stressful at times," Guajardo said.
According to Guajardo, the emergencies could be anything from police or fire to EMS.
"I've had situations where I've even had to talk to a child before that's needing help for their mother, and to be able to be down to their level, to be able to so they can understand what they're asking, what kind of help their needing," Martinez said.
Dispatcher applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a GED or high school diploma, complete a background check and be passionate about helping their community.
"A psychological and a drug test. A physical. Things like that," Guajardo said. "The people that work here really do love their job and they do care about what they do, and they do this job because they want to help people."
Calling 9-1-1 is just step one for people in an emergency. Kiii News Reporters Bill Churchwell and Taylor Alanis take an in-depth look at what it takes to save lives in a 3News Extra, Wednesday at 10 p.m.