Industry News, Operations

California Dispatcher Honored with IAED Dispatcher of the Year Award

National Harbor, Md. — Katerine (K.T.) McNulty, a dispatch operations manager for the Redwood Empire Dispatch Communications Authority (REDCOM), Operated by American Medical Response (AMR) in Santa Rosa, Calif., has been named Dispatcher of the Year by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). McNulty was presented with the award during IAED’s annual Navigator Conference in National Harbor. McNulty lead her team through some of the most destructive wildfires in California’s history.

The IAED Dispatcher of the Year award annually recognizes a certified emergency dispatcher who successfully exemplifies and furthers the values and mission of the Academies through personal action. Selection for the award takes into consideration such criteria as compliance to protocol, teamwork, initiative to further professionalism and education, and ability to function well under stress.

“As a supervisor at the Redwood Empire Dispatch Communications Authority in Santa Rosa, K.T. remained poised to perform call-taking, dispatching and resource-ordering activities when our community was devastated by the Tubbs, Nuns and Pocket fires in 2017,” said Aaron Abbott, Director, Communications Dispatch. “She and her team were faced with the challenge of receiving hundreds of emergency calls from citizens who were endangered or trapped by the quickly spreading fires. On several occasions, K.T. gave life-saving instructions to citizens in situations that were so unique that no Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD) protocols existed for them.”

“Many of K.T.’s ad-hoc instructions were repeated throughout the dispatch center during those chaotic hours, saving countless lives in the process. After review of the calls with the IAED and Priority Dispatch representatives, many of the instructions provided have been adopted in the Trapped by Wildfire instructions of our latest EFD protocols. K.T. and her team may not have known it at the time, but the work they did for those callers will now live on to save many more lives throughout the world,” Abbott added. 

The IAED is a nonprofit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services worldwide. In addition to embodying the ethics, principles and quality standards of the IAED, McNulty demonstrates a commitment to the wellbeing of her community in general. In her spare time, she actively volunteers for Sonoma Wildlife Rescue to rescue injured and trapped animals in the wild.