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From medical care instructions to maintenance needs, CVG’s telecommunicators respond to it all


One of the critical functions at CVG is the Airport Operations Center (AOC), where a team full of telecommunicators serve as the watchful eyes and ears of the airport. How do they do this? This specialized team is constantly monitoring all aspects related to safety and operations at the airport while fielding emergency and non-emergency phone calls. At times, the team answers as many as 120 calls daily; more than 5,000 calls are fielded per month during peak times. All of this happens while they juggle a multi-channel radio system, monitor alarms, provide security access to perimeter gates, and page over the intercom systems.

Telecommunicator with blurred computer screen

The team stays busy. CVG welcomed 8.7 million passengers in 2023, a 15% increase over 2022, and there are more than 16,000 badged employees working across the airport campus.

“Earlier in the year, I took a 9-1-1 call from an employee who works with an aviation business at CVG. He had just ended his shift and was walking with a coworker. Once they reached their cars and were saying their goodbyes, the coworker started to have a seizure and was bleeding from biting his tongue. The caller stated that he had never had to call 9-1-1 before and he was scared. With the extensive training I had, I was able to calm the caller so that he was able to answer questions and listen to pre-arrival instructions before airport firefighters arrived on scene,” said Madison Rechtin, telecommunicator.

Madison, along with her coworkers, are experts in providing over the phone medical directions before help arrives. They are friendly and remain calm with each caller throughout their shifts and know what action to take when a person needs them the most.

“I received a call from a worried mom, who was concerned about her daughter, who is visually impaired. The daughter was trying to fly back home, but she missed her first flight, and her phone battery was dying. I looked at the camera and found the daughter. I then asked a public safety assistant (PSA) to check in on her. The PSA helped the daughter make her way to the ticketing counter so she could get her flight rebooked. I called the mom to tell her the good news, and I connected her with the airline for further assistance. Helping the family was rewarding, and we are always happy to lend a helping hand,” said Kaitlyn Howard, telecommunicator.

While calls like the one Kaitlyn described are some of the most heartwarming, other calls may surprise you.

“I have talked a caller through AED (automated external defibrillator) instructions then my next call was to enter a work order for a loose toilet seat,” said Jennifer Van Fleet, lead telecommunicator.

Telecommunicator with blurred computer

The telecommunicators dispatch maintenance crews for routine services. If an employee or passenger sees a safety hazard at CVG, they are encouraged to call dispatchers at 859-767-7777 to report the issue. The team of dispatchers also verify IDs for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and other agencies, help passengers locate lost items, and even coordinate mutual aid calls for when a surrounding jurisdiction needs help from airport firefighters or airport police.

“We do camera and investigative work for police officers and handle multiple radios and numerous phone calls. We also monitor the weather, help travelers with customer service issues, and ensure first responder safety,” responded Sara McLaughlin, telecommunicator.

Although their jobs are high-stress and high-stakes, the team remains a very tightknit group, working together in 12-hour shifts and providing 24/7 dispatch coverage for CVG.

“Each and every person in the AOC will jump in and help and back up their partners and each other without hesitation. I can say from personal experience that the comradery we have here is not always present at every other dispatch center. What we have here is unique and could be used as an example for other centers to follow,” said Jason Chambers, telecommunicator.

If working on CVG’s telecommunicator team might be a career for you, you are encouraged to apply online at jobs.cvgairport.com, or reach out to hrinfo@cvgairport.com for questions. If you are not looking for a job now but are interested in how you can keep others safe, this is how you can contribute.

How you can help

  1. For emergency calls (medical, fire, life safety, accidents, etc.) call 911. Clearly identify your location as CVG Airport and give the specific operational area of the emergency.
  2. For non-emergency and administrative calls to Airport Operations, call 859-767-7777 and select the appropriate response in the call tree.
  3. Please be patient and stay on the line. Due to call volume and the task of juggling multiple calls and radio traffic, you may be placed on a brief hold due to emergency priorities.
  4. Please be prepared for questions during your emergency call. The protocol of questioning is to get you the best resource and care for your emergency needs. As emergency medical dispatches, we are also providing pre-arrival instructions to help until an emergency responder arrives on scene.
  5. Be patient on the phone or radio with us; the AOC can get busy, and we are often handling multiple calls at one time.