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Langley 911 dispatcher honoured for Olympic efforts

A Langley police dispatcher was part of E-Comm’s team which received a national public safety award for their work during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Tammy Baines was among those honoured for the work the E-Comm team did during the Olympics.

The award was presented by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) at a conference in Ottawa.

“The 2010 Winter Games presented one of the biggest challenges and also proudest moments for me, my team, E-Comm, the host cities and the entire country,” said Baines, who was on hand to accept the award.

“I’m so lucky to be a part of such a dedicated, professional and skillful team. This recognition affirms my sense of pride in what we all do every day at E-Comm.”

The award recognizes the efforts of 911 call-takers, dispatchers and critical support staff who worked through the Games, and in particular, two of the most challenging shifts: the night of the opening ceremonies and the first day of the Games.

On both occasions, there were huge crowds and multiple protests.

“911 staff may work behind-the-scenes, but they are an integral part of public and responder safety,” said E-Comm president and CEO David Guscott, who saw the events unfold first-hand.

Guscott was the VANOC executive vice-president in charge of the Opening Ceremonies at the time.

“It was a frightening situation for many, including many innocent bystanders in attendance, and the skill and stamina of E-Comm staff certainly supported the successful efforts to end the violence quickly and peacefully.”

As the Public-Safety Answer Point for Metro Vancouver and surrounding areas, E-Comm staff are accustomed to receiving thousands of 911 calls every day.

But in February, 2010 call volumes increased by 11 per cent (79,000 calls) over the previous year.

Calls for police in Vancouver and Richmond, two Olympic host cities, increased by a resounding 28 per cent.

The amount of radio traffic that dispatchers had to contend with also increased by a staggering 40 per cent on Feb. 12 alone.

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