RENO — Washoe County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher Karen Stout was honored April 12 by Smart Telecommunications for her role in assisting with the evacuation of Vice President Joe Biden during the recent Washoe Drive wildfire.
Last month, 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers from across the U.S. were nominated by peers to receive recognition for leadership, performance and overall contributions to their agencies. The public reviewed 20 finalists online and thousands voted to determine a national winner, and four regional honorees.
Smart Telecommunicator Awards are conducted by Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911 in partnership with the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies.
Stout was named the Western U.S. Regional Honoree for her efforts during a shift in which Stout handled calls about the Washoe Drive Fire, a large wildfire accompanied by winds in excess of 50 miles per hour that kicked off spot fires throughout Washoe Valley.
At the same time, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was speaking at Galena High school in south Reno, dangerously close to where the fires started. The dispatcher’s managed a prompt evacuation of the Vice President and ensured public safety during the Washoe Drive fire.
“I am very proud of Karen’s actions. She exemplifies the professionalism and excellent communication skills our dispatchers display each and every day.” said Sheriff Mike Haley.
In addition to the award, Smart911 will donate $500 in Stout’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, a charity of her choosing.
“Our goal is to honor telecommunicators (professionals) for their skills and detail the crucial services that this profession provides,” said Tom Axbey, chief executive officer of Rave Mobile Safety. “Karen’s response to this situation illustrates the fast-action and composure required to effectively deal with diverse emergency situations.”