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Sue Bush
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Berkshire Profile: Amalio Jusino

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, February 05, 2006

Amalio Jusino: the best way to describe him is busy.
Welcome to Berkshire Profile, an iberkshires weekly feature appearing on Sunday. Each week, iberkshires will highlight a Berkshires resident whose actions contribute to the Berkshires way of life.

Williamstown - When asked about the duration of emergency services dispatcher training, town resident Amalio Jusino offered the short answer.

"Every day," he said, as he juggled several town police, fire department, and ambulance service transmissions on Feb. 4.

The incident turned out to be minor, a vehicle that wound up off of Berlin Road and in a ditch with no reported injuries, but that wasn't known when the 911 call came into the police station.

"The calls can be anything and everything, " Jusino said.

Wearing Many Hats

"Dispatcher" is just one of the many hats Jusino, 32, wears. He is a reserve town police officer, a full-time Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts campus police officer, a volunteer Pownal [Vt.] Protective Fire Association firefighter and the association's president.

He is also a member of the town's forestry service, a certified D.A.R.E. officer, a certified emergency medical technician, a community automatic external defibrillator/cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructor, and a grant writer who has successfully written numerous grants for several entities, including the Pownal fire department and the town police department.

And he is a Berkshire Community College student pursuing degrees in business administration and criminal justice.

His "downtime passion" is researching and writing public safety grants, he said during a Feb. 4 interview - and he wasn't joking.

"My favorite pastime thing to do is research and write public safety grants," Jusino said. "I know it might sound odd, but I have been involved in enough elements of emergency services to know what the needs are. Because this region is largely volunteer fire departments and the ambulance services are private and not funded by towns, it's good to be doing the things that other people can't always do and getting the things that the services need."

Dispatchers: A First Resource

Emergency services dispatchers are the first resource for callers reporting situations and the first bearers of information for the emergency responders. Dispatchers must be calm when communicating to callers and responders, Jusino said.

"The dispatcher dictates the firefighter, police, and EMT response to an emergency," he said. "A tone of voice can influence an officer's reaction to a call."

Research conducted on volunteer firefighters has shown that even seasoned firefighters have a physical "fight or flight" response when a fire call is initiated, Jusino said. Adrenalin is released and one facet of dispatching is to attempt to contain responder reactions.

"If your dispatcher is excited, your responders are going to be excited," Jusino said.

In many cases, children are better at reporting emergency situations than their adult counterparts, Jusino said. Children do not always understand the possible consequences of a situation and may be more in control when they call 911, he said.

"They don't always understand cause and effect, and for the most part, kids of a certain age know only two things, to listen to their parents and how to use 911," Jusino said.

Town police Chief Kyle Johnson requires police officers who drive police cruisers to spend some time at the dispatcher desk, Jusino said.

"That way, you can see both ends of [the job]" he said.

Teaching and Learning

Jusino recently taught a CPR/AED instruction class to Mount Greylock Regional High School teachers, and has met with Pine Cobble School administrators about instruction at that school. A meeting with Buxton school administrators is scheduled as well, Jusino said.

"My focus is to have 100 percent participation with CPR and AEDs in schools," he said.

Jusino is planning to work with North Adams Fire Educator David Simon on implementing a fire safety education program targeting college student off-campus housing.

On April 3 and 4, Jusino is a scheduled speaker at an International Association of Campus Fire Safety Officials Professional Development Conference being held in Columbus, Ohio. Jusino and town police Officer Tania Hernandez recently attended a conference focused on bullying.

From New England to the South and Back

Jusino was raised in New Ashford and attended the Lanesboro elementary school. He is a 1991 MGRHS graduate who left the area and spent seven years in the Savannah, Georgia region, where he was employed as a supervisor/inspector for a private firm that handled insulation for a United States Navy fleet. While living in Rincon, Georgia, Jusino was a member of that town's volunteer fire department.

"I came back to the area when the [insulation] job was done," Jusino said. "And every town I've lived in since, I've been on the fire department."

He is a member of Vermont's juvenile firestarters program, a prevention and education initiative that works with children, including children that may have ignited a blaze accidentally or deliberately.

Children are very curious and may be drawn to matches or lighters that adults leave lying about, Jusino said.

"The statistics [about children and fire] can be alarming but the resources are amazing," he said.

Shared Interests

Jusino and his wife Heather recently returned from a 25-day trip to Puerto Rico. Heather Jusino is a full-time certified emergency medical technician who works with the Village Ambulance Service.

"We've been friends since the seventh grade," Jusino said of his wife.

She is enrolled at BCC's registered nurse program.

"It is good that Heather and I share a lot of the same interests," Jusino said.

He believes in community policing and community education, and plans to continue his involvement with those endeavors. A career goal is to operate his own consulting firm focused on public safety, fire prevention, and grant writing assistance, he said.

"A lot of what the public learns is the result of community policing, all the 'the policeman is your friend, the fireman is your friend' kind of thing that benefits so many people, especially kids," Jusino said. "And that's why I take so many classes, so I can get into the communities and teach."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at or at 802-823-9367.
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