Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick – Smart thinking by an RCMP Operational Communications Centre (OCC) operator is being credited with rescuing two boys lost in the woods near Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B.
On July 14, 2022, two boys called 911 after becoming lost in the woods while hiking. The boys, aged 12 and 13, were put through to Angelia Hermenier, an RCMP 911 operator. The boys had cell phones and a compass with them. Using technology available to OCC operators and her own knowledge of the area, she was able to guide them through the woods towards a nearby road. She also reached out to one of the boys’ mothers, and guided her to drive to the edge of the woods and honk her vehicle horn consistently to help lead them out with sound.
After approximately an hour, the boys were reunited with their families safely.
“The boys did the right thing – they had cell phones and a compass with them, and they did a great job following our directions,” says Hermenier. “This was really a team effort by everyone on the floor of the OCC, along with our members in the field, and the boy’s mother, everyone jumped in to help these kids get home safe.
“These are the kinds of calls that make you smile when you hang up – it’s so rewarding to be able to help people and to know you were an instrumental part of getting someone to safety. This is why we do this job.”
Telecommunicators, often referred to as 911 dispatchers, are the behind-the-scenes link between New Brunswick’s emergency situations and RCMP officers on the ground. Telecommunicators dispatch calls for the majority of the province sending officers and other agencies to various scenes. They assess each call by asking a series of questions ensuring they dispatch the appropriate emergency response.
“Being a telecommunicator takes a special skillset that never stops developing,” says Hermenier. “It is important to have a calm, professional voice when answering calls for help during an emergency situation, regardless the degree of urgency. It’s a very rewarding career, and I’m glad to be here.”
For more information on a career as a telecommunications operator with the RCMP, please visit https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/telecommunications-operators-9-1-1-dispatcher .
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