Indermark named state dispatcher of the year

Judy Indermark

    It was the afternoon of Aug. 5, 2011, when a call was made to Pacific County’s 911 dispatch to report a young boy struggling in the water off the Peninsula’s Cranberry Road beach approach.

    911 dispatcher Judy Indermark received the surf rescue call, and using her many years of experience on the job, was able to process and rapidly relay information to law enforcement and rescue teams, initiating a precise string of actions that ultimately led to the recovery and miraculous resuscitation of an unconscious 12-year-old Charles “Dale” Ostrander.

    Earlier this month, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office proudly announced that the Naselle dispatcher’s unwavering composure and prompt transmission skills demonstrated during that 911 call will be recognized this summer, when Indermark is recognized as the 2011 Washington State Telecommunicator of the Year for a Critical Incident.

    According to a Pacific County Sheriff’s Office press release, the honor is awarded to a telecommunicator in Washington state who handled a critical incident in an exemplary manner that positively affected its outcome. “Judy’s performance in respect to this event was exemplary and worthy of the selection,” the release praised.    

    Indermark will be recognized for her efforts at the Washington State Public Safety Communications Conference in Kennewick on June 28.

    “I was surprised,” she says about finding out she was chosen to receive the award. “I’m very grateful. You tend to forget what you’ve done in the last half of the year, and we go day to day from one event from another. I did not know I had been nominated, so I was very surprised and very pleased.

    “Mostly what we do when we know a certain type of event is happening, our training kicks in. And there’s information that we need to know in a surf rescue that is different than say a car crash; we have a different list of questions … Your mind just goes to that file and that information that you need to get and process the information as fast as you can — these are the things I need to know and this is what I need to do.

    “What we call the ‘reporting party,’ the person on the phone, he was very helpful, very calm,” she remembers. “And when you have a caller that will let you do your job and provide you with information you need, that just makes the job easier for us. If the caller had been less organized, it would have been a much harder call.”

    Indermark, a telecommunicator for over 16 years, also credits her fellow coworkers on shift that day, who provided the assistance needed in order for her to complete the task.

    Of the 32 surf rescue calls she has handled since 1996, Indermark says half of them were “resolved almost immediately,” meaning the person was able to make it back to shore before help arrived.

    This is the second time that Indermark has been chosen as the Washington State Telecommunicator of the year for a Critical Incident. She was first chosen for the award for her efforts in 2006.

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