FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County commissioners awarded high honors to two 911 operators, Tuesday, in Fort Lauderdale, for consistently going the distance during life-and-death situations.
The Broward County Board of Commissioners proclaimed April 2017 as National 911 Education Month.
In honor of the proclamation, two operators, Charmaine Buckner and Erin Kafka, were recognized prior to the county commission meeting for their outstanding public service.
Kafka, who works for the Coral Springs Police Department, was credited with keeping her cool during a deadly shooting at the Coral Square Mall, Nov. 26.
“Needless to say, this became a complex situation that could have turned into a nightmare if communications broke down,” said a commissioner during Tuesday’s ceremony. “Erin was able to multi-task on this call, remaining calm, collected and efficient throughout the call.”
The shooting was contained to a single store and ended with the owner taking his life after shooting an employee in a dispute over money. That employee survived the shooting.
“Every day is something new and exciting,” said Kafka. “I love being a part of an amazing team. That’s what it’s about. It’s about team.”
Buckner, a Broward County dispatcher, was vital in saving the life of a drowning baby in Pembroke Pines, last year.
A recording of the 911 call captured the tense moments.
Charmaine Buckner: “911. What is your emergency?”
Caller: “My baby is drowning in the water!”
Charmaine Buckner: “What’s the address?”
Caller: “I don’t know, ma’am.”
The commissioner who bestowed the award said Buckner was instrumental in saving the baby’s life. “The young woman on the line was screaming, ‘My baby is drowning,’ and gave a partial and incorrect address before being disconnected,” he said. “Miss Buckner quickly plotted the longitude and latitude coordinates of the call. Her quick thinking and quick response no doubt saved that child’s life.”
“It’s a great honor to receive this award after so many years of working in this business,” said Buckner. “It’s a little overwhelming, to tell you the truth, but it is a great honor, and I’m very appreciative of getting this award.”
Each woman was presented with a plaque, and the deep appreciation of a grateful community. “[We proclaim] today, April 4th, 2017, as Charmaine Buckner and Erin Kafka Appreciation Day in honor of the distinguished and compassionate service for public safety,” said the commissioner.
Both are recipients of the 2017 Tom Gallagher Memorial Public Safety Award. Gallagher was a telecommunications professional who served several positions with the Pembroke Pines Police and Fire Rescue departments until his death in 2012.
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