As a 911 dispatcher, Kyle Nelson is used to busy days. But Thursday was an unusually hectic one at the Pitkin County Incident Management Team headquarters, where he’s working during the pandemic. The team had planned to participate in a livestreamed public health meeting and roll out plans to start testing residents for COVID-19. What they didn’t plan for was a heavy snowfall – at one point 1-2 inches per hour – that led to messy roads and a flood of calls to emergency dispatchers.
Nelson works behind the scenes, organizing the latest coronavirus intel and briefing the county's decision-makers.
The Incident Management Team, working out of a converted hotel lobby, is a group of emergency officials pulled from other jobs around the county. In addition to working as a 911 dispatcher, Nelson is also a ski patroller.
"As it’s been snowing today, I really wish the lifts were turning so I could get some turns in,” Nelson said. “For me, that’s typically the way that I relieve the stress and anxiety of the work that I do in public safety.”
Despite that, Nelson said he’s driven by the same desires that got him into public safety in the first place – keeping people safe and informed when they need it most.
“It’s a mixture of the desire to want to do more,” Nelson said, “The desire to want to be there, to respond to every citizen in need, to every person who’s been disadvantaged, economically or physically impacted by COVID-19 and to be there for them.”
This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. Aspen Public Radio joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.
What will you remember most about this historic moment that we’re all sharing? How are you navigating work and family needs? What are your struggles – and silver linings?
Aspen Public Radio and the Aspen Historical Society want to hear from you about how the outbreak is changing your daily life. Your submission will become a part of the historical society's archives, for future generations of Coloradans to learn about this time.
It’s easy to submit your voicemail or voice memo.