City dispatcher Yost rises above the rest

Posted: April 16, 2014

The Winchester Star

Elizabeth Yost, 28, received the Emergency Communications Specialist of the Year Award on Tuesday at the Timbrook Public Safety Center. She has been a dispatcher with the Winchester Police Department for eight and a half years.

WINCHESTER — A local emergency dispatcher was recognized Tuesday for her efficiency, quick thinking and overall work ethic.

Elizabeth Yost, 28 — who has worked as a dispatcher for the city of Winchester Emergency Communications Center for more than eight years — received the Emergency Communications Specialist of the Year Award on the second day of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. The award was handed out at the Timbrook Public Safety Center.

The week is dedicated to honoring the men and women who work behind the scenes to help residents during emergencies.

“They are the unseen heroes,” said Erin Elrod, director of emergency communications in Winchester. “You talk to the dispatchers, but you never get to see them — they are the voices behind the people who respond to the scene.”

She said communications specialists require “considerable patience and professionalism to calmly transmit to an officer, firefighter or EMT while dealing with an irate or hysterical caller on the phone at the same time.”

Information gathering and dissemination, remembering locations and continuously adjusting priorities is the heart of emergency communications, she added.

Elrod said Yost was chosen as dispatcher of the year because she really stood out.

“She was nominated by one of her fellow dispatchers,” she said. “She’s done an excellent job. When you call her, she’s very quick to say yes [to working] or rearrange her schedule.”

Recently, Yost also has played a key role in training new employees.

The dispatcher said Tuesday that she was surprised to receive the award.

“I’m honored,” she added, saying that telecommunications week, in general, was “awesome” because “we do a lot for people and they don’t realize.”

In her nomination letter, Yost was described as an overall asset to the Emergency Communications Center.

Tammy DeHaven, 36, was also nominated for the award. She has been with the center for 16 years and received the first dispatcher of the year award four years ago.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com