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Within the Trenches Ep 168

Ep 168 is sponsored by the 911 Training Institute and supported by INdigital. This episode features Chris, Director of Barren-Metcalfe Emergency Communications Center out of Kentucky and was recorded at the NENA SBP conference in Orlando, Florida. In this episode Chris shares his 9-1-1 story, details on the Kentucky 9-1-1 Summit and his opinion on a possible change in the dispatch identifier of PSAP to something more fitting of what a dispatch center does now.

This is an episode you don’t want to miss. As always if you have any comments, questions or you would like to be a guest on the show send an email to

Article mentioned in episode – Facebook rolls out AI to detect suicidal posts before they’re reported – Web

Podcast Sponsor –

911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Episode topics –

  • Chris’s 9-1-1 story
  • Kentucky Training Summit
  • Should the name PSAP be changed to something else?
  • Should the name “dispatcher” be changed to something else?
  • Facebook suicide detection AI

January Podcast Sponsor

I am excited and honored to have the 911 Training Institute as the sponsor for the month of January.

The 911 Training Institute (911TI) is founded by Jim Marshall, an accomplished licensed mental health professional, specializing in trauma exposure. In 2005, he brought his professional mental health expertise to the 911 industry. Since then, he’s trained thousands of public-safety dispatchers from police and fire agencies throughout the United States.

Marshall integrates principles of psychology with the field of emergency communications to boost dispatcher resilience and help equip them to manage unique 911 stressors. He also delivers call-mastery courses that equip dispatchers to better handle calls from people experiencing a mental health crisis. This dual approach to training helps dispatchers optimize their personal health at home and professional performance at work. 911TI offers a variety of training courses to achieve this mission: Survive & Thrive Comprehensive Stress Resilience, introductory Power of Peer Support and the Certified Peer Supporter, Certified Emergency Mental Health Dispatcher, Building LifeBridges to Suicidal Callers, Peak Performance through Optimized Home Life, Peak Performance in Managing Domestic Violence Calls, and the all new, Not “Just a Dispatcher”.

911TI recognizes that dispatchers perform elite work that is psychologically and emotionally demanding; they have to have elite skills and a healthy mindset so they’re not victims of the work they do. Resilient dispatchers guided by expertly designed and delivered training can master their calls, dispatch with excellence, and take great care of themselves. That’s what 911TI is uniquely qualified to deliver. Visit our website, find us on social media, and learn more about the training programs we offer.

911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web

To walk among heroes

“To walk among heroes”

Guest blog post –

Written by –

Billy Short – Technical Trainer with RPSS

It was the last class of my training assignment for a PSAP in Louisiana. The training part of my class was over, so I broke into my post class “appreciation speech.” Since becoming a technical trainer for 911 dispatchers, my eyes had been opened to things that I guess, I had always taken for granted. I shared with the class how that I, as a citizen, truly appreciated the work that dispatchers perform. I had come to realize that most dispatchers were never truly recognized, or honestly appreciated for their work. I shared with them how that I had come to believe that they were the “first”, first responders. I had witnessed many community organizations and churches having appreciation events for other First Responder heroes, but I noticed that the members of the dispatch teams were never given a seat at that table of honor.

I shared how that now, I somewhat understood the roller coaster of emotion that a 911 calltaker could be on, simply by answering the next ringing telephone. I knew that one minute they would be able to feel their blood pressure rise in aggravation to a caller wondering when the electrical power would be restored to their neighborhood, or a caller wanting the phone number to the local tax office. To answering the next call and experiencing the desperate cries of a mother that had just pulled the lifeless body of her toddler from a swimming pool. I shared with the class my appreciation for their professionalism when taking a call from someone who just seemed to be having a difficult day, and needing to complain to someone, to the next call from someone that is having the absolute worse day of their life because their mate of 52 years was lying in the floor unresponsive.

I thanked them for doing the often-thankless job of giving CPR instructions over the phone until EMS arrived at the scene. I thanked them for trying to comfort a scared child, who left alone in the house, hears a scary noise outside. I tried my best to express my love, admiration, and appreciation for the job that they do, day in, day out, around the clock, and through the holidays. I also extended to them my friendship. Even though it would probably be limited to social media, or text messaging. I told them that if they ever needed someone to listen, someone to pray for them, someone to talk to, that I would be willing to be that guy.

I ended my speech with another, heart-felt “Thank You!” After the group began to file out of the room, one guy, kind of hung back a little. I could tell that my “speech” was having some sort of emotional effect on him. When the room emptied, this hulk of a dispatcher walked up to me, with tears now beginning to roll down his face, he asked if he could give me a hug. Of course, I obliged, and bear hugged him right back. With a soft voice he began to thank me. He simply stated that the job had begun to get to him, and that he didn’t know if he could keep going on. But that my speech had reminded him that it wasn’t a job that he performed. It was his calling! He told me that he was fired up and ready to get back out onto the floor and be the professional, the call-taker, the first responder that he was called to be. By this time, tears were in my eyes. I thanked him for sharing part of his story with me. And I thanked God for the little part that I had played in this First Responder Hero’s life calling!

Through social media, I found out a few months after that day, that my dispatcher friend had gotten off work, went home, went to sleep, and never woke up again. I felt the tears coming again! That scene at the door of the training room played back over in my mind. I felt an unexplainable sense of loss. That may sound strange. I had only spent a few hours in a training class with him. I never knew his life story. I never knew his family. I never knew his favorite food or color. But in his death, I knew that the world had lost a hero. To some, he was just a voice on the other end of a phone line. To some, he was just somebody that answered phones for a living. For some, he was just an operator that would give out a phone number. But I can’t help but believe that there were countless people whose lives had been saved, broken hearts comforted, and fears calmed, by this straw haired colored man. I believe that there were firefighters and police officers, that were made heroes of situations because this dispatcher sent them on their way. I believe that the world was a better place, and a safer place because of a that faceless voice on the other end of a mic, or telephone. And I believe that a dispatch team, lost a brother, that could never quite be replaced. And to me, I am reminded that my job is more than a job. It is a calling. A calling to walk among heroes! A calling to play my part in the training of giants! I want to be the best trainer that I can be, so that heroes and giants can be the best dispatcher that they can be!

Within the Trenches Ep 167

Ep 167 features Mary, Deputy Director with MACECOM out of Washington state. This episode is sponsored by the 911 Training Institute and supported by INdigital, a leader in Next-Gen Core Services. In this episode Mary talks about what is new at her dispatch center and informs our listeners of the upcoming Western Regional Conference in Tacoma, Washington. We also tackle the debate of “what is your emergency?” versus “where is your emergency?” It’s a debate that has been out there for some time but has been recently brought to the frontline with the launch of FOX’s new show, “9-1-1.” It’s an episode you don’t want to miss and for more information on the Western Regional Conference follow the links below.

Podcast Sponsor –

911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web

MACECOM – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Western Regional Conference – 

We are pleased to announce that there is an app now available to support the 2018 APCO Western Regional Conference. You will need to download the “eventbase” app from the appropriate app store.  Links are available at or you can use the QR code below. After you launch the app, just search for APCO and select the APCO 2018 Western  Regional Conference. You can also find it by date: March 27, 2018. This app will provide the information you need: schedule, speakers, vendors and exhibitors, map, hotels, and conference center. You may mark sessions as favorites for quick access or add them to your calendar so you don’t miss what is important to you. You may also search by speaker or track.






Conference registration – Early Bird Registration Discount extended to Jan. 13th

Requests for local events or chapter mtgs should go to

Episode topics –

  • 5 year anniversary reflection
  • What’s new at MACECOM?
  • What’s happening at the Western Regional Conference?
    • Highlighted speakers
    • The Super Session
    • Why is it important to attend a conference if you can?

Within the Trenches Ep 166

Ep 166 is sponsored by the 911 Training Institute and supported by INdigital, a leader in Next-Gen Core Services. This episode features Rob “Big Mac” McMullen, director at Vigo County 9-1-1 out of Indiana and current President of NENA. In this episode we catch up on what he is doing with NENA, automated dispatching and the new FOX TV series, “9-1-1.”

As always if you have any comments questions or you would like to be a guest on the show please send an email to

Podcast Sponsor –

911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Episode topics –

  • Catching up with Rob
  • Automated dispatching
  • Dispatch Debbie
  • FOX TV series – 9-1-1

Within the Trenches Ep 165

Imagine a bright sunny day on the farm while your son plays outside. You are on your tractor and realize you don’t see your son anymore. Panic sets in…Now imagine your 9-1-1 taking the call of a frantic father who has run over his child. The pain in his voice is haunting…
This is what it’s like, within the trenches.
In this episode, you will hear stories from the IAM911 movement, a movement I started to fight the reclassification of dispatchers from clerical to protective and bring awareness to the types of calls that 9-1-1 dispatchers answer on a daily basis. This episode is the last one for 2017 and it ends with an announcement that I have been teasing for weeks.
Now…you heard the warning at the beginning but I must warn you again and add that if you suffer from PTSD or have suicidal tendencies you are listening at your own risk. The stories you are about to hear are all true and come from the dispatchers who lived them.
While some stories have a good outcome, the majority are horrifying. This is our reality. Your worst day is our every day.
So let’s start with a bang.
I want you to imagine each story. Become the dispatcher who has taken each call and imagine listening…

Within the Trenches Ep 164


Ep 164 features the co-founder of The Healthy Dispatcher, Adam Timm. In this episode Adam gives an overview of his history from 9-1-1 dispatcher to health and mental wellness advocate. He talks about the first ever 9-1-1 Training Summit held in Charlotte, North Carolina in partnership with the Denise Amber Lee Foundation. We also talk about resolutions for the new year and what we can do to avoid stress in the workplace.

This is a must listen! As always if you have any comments, questions or you would like to be a guest on the show send an email to

The Healthy Dispatcher – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Denise Amber Lee Foundation – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Episode topics –

  • The Healthy Dispatcher overview
  • 9-1-1 Training Summit
  • Avoiding stress in the workplace for the new year
  • And more

Within the Trenches Ep 163


Ep 163 features Jim Marshall, Director of the 911 Training Institute and Ryan Dedmon, Outreach Director. In this episode we reveal the details of the Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge. Per Ryan,

“The Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge is a collaborative partnership between the 911 Training Institute and Within the Trenches Podcast. Jim Marshall, the Director of the 911 Training Institute, developed this challenge after Survive & Thrive, one of his more popular training classes for dispatchers. Partnering with Ricardo Martinez, the Creator of Within the Trenches Podcast and Founder of the #IAM911 Movement, both men will begin a fitness journey together. They invite dispatchers, and all other first-responders, to join them on their journey to improve overall health, wellness, and quality of life at home and work. Use #SurviveThriveFC on social media to join and share your experiences. The official logo of the Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge, created by Within the Trenches Podcast. #SurviveThriveFC”
This is an episode you do not want to miss. If you have any comments, questions or you would like to be a guest on the show send an email to
911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web
Episode topics –
  • An overview of the 911 Training Institute
  • Background on Jim Marshall
  • Background on Ryan Dedmon
  • The Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge Reveal
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