Behind-the-Scenes Hero

Jessica Matthews shares her experience of what being a Calltaker at HMC 9-1-1 is like, and why this was the best career path for her.

“Working as a 9-1-1 Calltaker makes me feel like a hero and makes me proud that my work is helping the community.”  - Jessica Matthews

Jessica Matthews has always known she wanted a career that would enable her to help others - but also wanted to find something that was challenging, yet fuelled with professional development.  Fortunately, Jessica found that opportunity at the Huntsville-Madison County 9-1-1 Center (HMC 9-1-1).

Jessica started her career with HMC 9-1-1 in early 2020 and loves every minute she spends serving her community. “I do it because I like having a sense of purpose when I come to work,” stated Jessica, who also likes knowing she makes a positive impact for someone in an emergent situation.

“Every shift is important. Crime and incidents in life do not have a scheduled time; they can happen at any moment,” said Jessica. You never know when someone is going to need help or a hero.” 9-1-1 Calltakers have to be prepared for whatever their shift may throw at them. Every call is tasked with bringing a sense of calm to an otherwise chaotic situation, which can sometimes prove to be a challenge they have to be ready for.

Being able to bring that sense of calm and multitasking to help a caller requires a lot of training, but Jessica states that the training provided by HMC 9-1-1 thoroughly prepares Calltakers to do just that. “Training to be an HMC 9-1-1 Calltaker is a lot more extensive than I thought; this job is often a life or death situation and you have to know what you’re doing.” Not only is the initial training thorough, but Jessica also says that “the administration supports us and makes sure we are always learning and improving.”

Training to sharpen a Calltaker’s skills is a priority and always ongoing at HMC 9-1-1. Jessica feels there are three basic skills that all Calltakers should have to be great at their job. “First, you need to be an excellent listener. Second, you have to be effective and quick when you are getting help from someone,” she says. “Third, you have to have empathy. You never know what you are going to hear on the other end of the phone. You’re in a building taking a call and are not on the scene seeing what the caller is seeing.”

Huntsville-Madison County 9-1-1 Center strives to provide excellent service to the Huntsville-Madison County community. While working to provide this high standard, HMC 9-1-1 also provides competitive employment opportunities that enable a rewarding service career. Visit our employment page to learn more.