Public Safety personnel recognized for lifesaving efforts

Published on September 21, 2022

A desk and computer in the Weld County Regional Communications Center.

For their professionalism, abilities and care in helping save the lives of four individuals earlier this year, Weld County Public Safety Dispatchers Emily Schoneman, Cambrie Guerrero-Wacker, Matt Bilyeu and Communications Supervisor Ivett Avalos are the latest recipients of Lifesaver Awards.

In April, Schoneman provided a caller with instructions that helped save the life of a minor who experienced a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. In May, Avalos responded to a call about an individual experiencing an allergic reaction. In early July, Guerrero-Wacker facilitated emergency response and instruction to save the life of an individual who had gone into cardiac arrest. Later in the month, Bilyeu assisted in saving the life of someone who experienced an overdose.

“In a high-stress job, where dispatchers are responsible for responding to rapid, challenging and changing situations in order to help people going through, arguably, the worst moment of their lives, these types of positive outcomes speak to the dedication and tireless work of our dispatchers and entire Public Safety Communications team to continually be ready to serve the public,” said Scott James, Weld County Commissioner Chair. “We’re proud of our dispatchers for receiving these awards and for helping generate the best outcomes in uncertain situations.”

Issued by the Weld County Department of Public Safety Communications, a Lifesaver Award, along with a Stork Award for helping deliver a baby, is one of the highest recognitions a dispatcher can receive. To receive a Lifesaver Award, the patient of a call must survive the incident and the dispatcher’s call must meet call taking standards with a high level of proficiency after being evaluated by internal teams. Additionally, the call must fully meet criteria established by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.

The Lifesaver Awards received continue a tradition of high standards and excellence for Weld County Dispatchers who ensure there’s always someone ready to help the public deal with emergencies 24 hours a day 365 days a year. In 2021, nine dispatchers received Lifesaver Awards while one received a Stork Award.

“Our county is almost 4,000 square miles, and we are so rural in some areas that sometimes help may be a long way away,” said Tina Powell, Director of Weld County Public Safety Communications. “We are able to provide that lifeline until help can get there.”

While not every 911 call ends with a positive outcome, Powell said there is great motivation in her team of dispatchers to constantly improve their skills and facilitate as many positive endings as possible — evidenced by the efforts of the latest award recipients.

“They all have an amazing duty to serve,” she said.

Learn more about Public Safety Communications.