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      Charleston County honors 911 dispatchers

      NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials with the Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch Center on Tuesday{}held their annual Telecommunicator Awards Ceremony. The event honored a handful of 911 dispatchers for going beyond the call of duty.

      "The most difficult thing is staying calm under all the pressure and maintaining your composure," said Dennis Sprout, who has been a dispatcher for a year and a half.

      Sprout was one of eight others given awards. Sprout was given the Lifesaving Award for instructing a man how to perform CPR on an unconscious patient.

      "When you have to give CPR, it's one of the most difficult calls you have to handle," said Sprout. "It's really surreal. It's almost hard to think about that's what you do every day."

      Ed Thompson has a newfound appreciation for the work of folks like Sprout. He is a North Charleston firefighter who was forced to call 911 in November on behalf of his twin daughters.

      "The girls have a rare medical condition," said Thompson. "Claire started to have a seizure and her heartbeat slowed down to effectively a stop and her breathing had stopped entirely."

      Thompson says while he's been dealing with other people's emergencies for the last decade, he panicked when it came to his own children.

      "It's something I would never want anyone else in our career field to have to experience. I wasn't able to communicate effectively," Thompson said. "I was performing mouth-to-mouth on my own daughter."

      Thankfully, Thompson says a calm dispatcher helped get aid to his daughters.

      "We credit them with our daughters' lives being saved," said Thompson. "I can't imagine what it would be like to be in a place without a dispatch center of quality, without responders that I work with everyday of this quality coming to our aid. We're really fortunate to live in this county."

      Thompson's 17-month-old daughters have since gotten pacemakers and are doing well.

      The Consolidated Dispatch Center Telecommunicator Awards Ceremony is an annual event.{}

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