In recognition of the public safety dispatcher’s critical role in the protection of life and property and the preservation of society and law, Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed the week of April 10th thru the 16th as Public Safety Telecommunications Week.


During the week-long celebration, Grays Harbor E9-1-1 will take the opportunity to present the agency’s annual Telecommunicator Recognition Awards for exemplary job performance.


  • Heather Cowsert has been selected to receive the Sustained Job Performance Award for her outstanding performance, effort,  knowledge and dedication.


  • Krystal Eastham has been selected to receive the Critical Incident Award for her role in handling a Structure Fire call.


  • Katie Gillies, Tonya Henderson, Ryanne Blumberg and Kerry Tadique  are being recognized with the Team Critical Incident Award for their performance during the January 5, 2015 severe flooding and landslide.


The Telecommunicator of the Year Awards will be presented at the 9-1-1 Operating Board meeting on Tuesday, April 12th at 830 am.


Outstanding Sustained Job Performance


This award is given to a Telecommunicator who does an all-around good job on a regular basis.  The recipient cares about their team members and the integrity of the agency.  They jump in and assist team members without being asked.  They willingly share the overtime workload.  They contribute to a positive work environment by maintaining a good attitude and avoiding negativity.  They are proactive about making job improvements which benefit the team.  They maintain an excellent job performance record with regard to attendance, punctuality, lack of formal discipline, and adherence to the rules of the agency. 


The award this year is given in recognition of the recipient’s attitude, demeanor, and willingness to be a team player.  She is acknowledged as being supporting of her co-workers, always offering to assist in any way, being a positive voice and a leader, and being proactive at making the workplace environment better.  She is recognized for giving “awesome customer service”, being detail-oriented, following policy and always being on time.  She is especially recognized for taking on the monumental project of writing the Center schedule, and doing the job with pride, with fairness and with great attention to detail.


The recipient of the Sustained Superior Performance award for 2015 is Heather Cowsert.




Critical Incident


The Critical Incident Award is not about the type of incident being handled, but rather, about the ability of the employee to handle the challenging circumstances placed before them.  The intent of the Critical Incident Award is to focus on an employee’s calmness, ability to multi-task under an exceptional workload, attention to detail, and/or knowledge of obscure locations or unique procedures, all delivered with professionalism.  This award acknowledges special job performance under difficult circumstances.


The award this year is given in recognition of the recipient’s handling of a major structure fire.  The incident involved a multi-agency response 6 different fire agencies, an emergency alert activation from a responder (an extremely rare occurrence), massive amounts of radio traffic and coordination between agencies, volunteer responders, and apparatus, and an extended time frame (almost 8 hours).  In addition to the particular incident, there were an additional 20 calls for service handled or dispatched during the same time frame.  The recipient of this award was newly released to work a console on her own, with only 8 months of experience on the job!


The recipient of the Critical Incident award for 2015 is Krystal Eastham.




Team Critical Incident


The Team Critical Incident Award is given in recognition of the handling of an unforeseen and unusually challenging situation causing each nominee to handle additional responsibilities in addition to their regularly assigned duties.  Nominees used uncommon methods to problem solve, teamwork to create a solution, and together were instrumental in making a difference in the outcome of the event. 


The award this year is given in recognition of the team’s handling of a major flooding and landslide event.  The 3 people on graveyard shift on that particular night were inundated with phone calls and radio traffic, far in excess of what normally occurs on a Monday night in January.  The area had already experienced flooding due to massive amounts of rain, and then things went from bad to worse.  An “average” Sunday night graveyard sees the Center processing around 30 911 calls, 30 business/non-emergency calls, 20 outgoing calls, about 300 CAD terminal messages and less than 50 CAD incidents.  During the 8 hours from 2300 to 0700, the team processed 257 911 calls, 233 incoming non-emergency line calls, and placed 157 outgoing calls.  They also processed 488 CAD terminal messages – 288 outgoing and 211 incoming.  In addition, they created and processed 269 CAD incidents.  We have no way of capturing the volume of radio traffic, but it doesn’t take much imagination to imagine they were overwhelmed with radio calls as well.  The team pulled together, handled the workload, provided outstanding service to panicked residents calling for help, kept track of the location of multiple fire and law units who were doing their best to respond to citizens, and also communicated with public works crews from the cities and the county.  And then the hills came down!  Houses were swept off their foundations, people were trapped and injured, officers were proactively going door to door and telling people to evacuate, firefighters were attempting to rescue citizens – and the team continued to do their best, professionally and calmly. 


The recipients of the Team Critical Incident award for 2015 are:  Katie Gillies, Tonya Henderson, Ryanne Blumberg and Kerry Tadique.





Additional Facts:

The E9-1-1 Center processed 119,773 calls-for-service during 2015:

17,225 Fire/EMS calls-for-service

102,548 Law Enforcement calls-for-service


The E9-1-1 Center answered 146,265 phone calls during 2015:

52,475 9-1-1 calls

93,790 business/non-emergency calls