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Within the Trenches Ep 171


Welcome to another episode of Within the Trenches, true stories from the 9-1-1 dispatchers who live them.

Episode topics –

  • Podcast appearances
  • Recap of NENA 9-1-1 Goes to Washington
  • Celebrating 50 years of 9-1-1
  • Kari’s Law – Official signing
  • NG9-1-1 Institute Awards Reception
  • FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s speech

As always if you have any comments, questions, topic suggestions or you would like to be a guest, send an email to

Within the Trenches Ep 170

Ep 170 features Jim Marshall and Ryan Dedmon of the 911 Training Institute.

As always if you have any comments, questions or you would like to be a guest on the show please send an email to To pre-order your copy of Jim Marshall’s new book “The Resilient 911 Professional: A Comprehensive Guide to Surviving & Thriving Together in the 911 Center” please visit the link below.

Sponsor –

911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Pre-order “The Resilient 911 Professional: A Comprehensive Guide to Surviving & Thriving Together in the 911 Center” – Web

Episode topics –

  • Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge recap
  • Candida Story
  • A suicidal caller, yoga and a save
  • Ryan’s update
  • Jim’s update
  • And more

Within the Trenches Ep 169

This episode is sponsored by the 911 Training Institute, unique mental health expertise for the very first responder. This episode is also supported by INdigital, a leader in Next-Gen Core Services.

This episode features Leah, Deputy Director with Grand Traverse 9-1-1 out of Michigan.

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

Sponsor –

911 Training Institute – Facebook | Twitter | Web

Articles mentioned in episode –

How We Could Better Leverage Social Media During Disasters Like Harvey – Web


How social media assisted cops with the Hurricane Harvey response – Web

Episode topics –

  • Leah’s 9-1-1 story
  • Social media, Disasters and the PSAP
  • Hurricane Harvey and the PSAP
  • And more

Sugar, we’re going down

I feel good. I feel very good. Better than I have in a year and a half. As you all know I have been battling a back issue along with extreme shoulder pain and a stiff neck. It has caused problems like you wouldn’t believe. I just wanted to feel better and so, I started working on it. My doctor couldn’t tell me what was wrong and really didn’t look much into it but through some research, friendly conversation and more research I was able to figure it out and I’m on my way to recovery.


How it all started…
About a year and a half ago I was at work and suffered a dizzy spell. Now, I have had dizzy spells before from getting up too fast but I was standing and speaking to someone. When I went to move everything started to spin. It was horrible and I almost passed out. That weird feeling continued for a few weeks until I finally got a chance to see my doctor. The first visit lasted about ten minutes. My symptoms were a feeling of being off balance, stiff neck, shoulders, back and joint pain as well as extreme exhaustion. This was daily. My doctor told me to start taking my high blood pressure medication again. So I did…and it was horrible. The main side-effect? A dry cough and mine was crazy. Months passed but my health continued to spiral down.


The daily pain was unbearable but no one could tell me what was wrong. I had blood work done, a urine test, and neurological tests because of the odd headaches caused by the tension in my neck and nothing relieved it. I was drinking more than usual because at night, I couldn’t relax due to the pain. It sucked and I travel a lot for work so at the end of the night when all my work was done and I no longer had to hide the pain I was dealing with I would relax with a cold beer. It worked but I was tired of feeling like shit. And feeling like shit daily is hard to keep up with. After a while it takes a toll. My body was breaking down and I didn’t know why.


A conversation and a change
After almost a year of constant daily pain, not knowing what was wrong, seeing a chiropractor every other day as well as seeing my family doctor and being sent to physical therapy I had had enough. I needed to change something and I thought, “maybe it has to do with something I’m doing that is causing this?” The first thing I did was stop drinking. Within that first week my back started feeling better. I still felt like shit but not as much as before. I started doing yoga every morning. The constant stretching of my body helped out with the stiff neck, shoulders and back. My legs were getting stretched out and it was helping. I continued this but every so often I felt like crap. What was left to change?


I remember a conversation with a friend and co-worker of mine and he mentioned “candida.” What the fuck is that? I know, a rough way to ask but that’s exactly what I asked when I heard this. I didn’t believe it at first but as I continued to go back and forth with my health I started to believe it more and more and I did a lot of research. As you all know I am no doctor and I do not claim to be one. Plus, my own doctor has not diagnosed this. I had to try it for myself first. Candida, according to Wikipedia is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It does not proliferate outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40-60% of healthy adults. Weird right?


Apparently it is more common then people would believe and everyone has it and at normal levels it’s fine but when it grows out of control it can be problematic. So when I quit drinking it helped significantly because what is one of the main ingredients in beer? Yeast. Yep, I was feeding this candida shit and it was growing out of control. But I still didn’t feel great and my aches and pains were still bothering me. So what next? I researched further on this candida crap and there is a diet, an anti-candida diet. There are many pages dedicated to this diet and it’s crazy. I say it’s crazy only because I have never done anything like this but like I said before, I was tired of feeling like shit and I needed to change.

The diet consists of cutting out all fruit, all grains, all sugar and because I’m lactose intolerant, no dairy.  Sugar and grains feed candida so the concept is starving it by cutting out what feeds it. Make sense? I understand it but I still think it’s crazy. All I can eat is meat and veggies. Which is good because I love meat and veggies but I can’t eat vegtables that are high in starch and I can’t eat mushrooms. I love mushrooms but it is a fungus and so is candida so it would be feeding it. Sad face! The first couple of days on this diet was hell! Quitting sugar is what I think quitting heroine would be like. I know that seems extreme but believe me when I say that it was very tough! I was craving sweets like you wouldn’t believe and that is definitely something because I’m not a sweets person when it comes to candy, cakes and such. It was more of the pop I was drinking. I was not a fun person and I was getting ready to travel for a conference too. It blew but something changed.


Road to recovery
After a week out of state for work at a conference where I would normally eat whatever I wanted I changed, rather, my body changed. My symptoms have mostly died off. I get flare ups every now and then but they are few and I can actually take a deep breath now. Before I felt like I had something blocking me from taking a deep breath. I used to be bloated and everything would cause gas. I was uncomfortable all the time and constantly taking meds for gas and acid reflux but now, it’s gone. Back pain? Gone. Shoulder and neck pain? Stiff on occasion but nothing like I was dealing with for the last year and a half. It makes me want to cry at the thought of how it was before compared to how I feel now.


I was pretty much killing myself through my diet. My body started to break down and it forced me to slow down. I needed to change something and I did. Again, I’m only two weeks into this month long diet to reset my stomach and restore my gut health but I’m feeling great. Sure…I would love a cheese burger and an ice cold coke or beer but instead it would be a deconstructed burger where there is no bun, no ketchup or mustard or cheese or pickles, just meat and onions with an ice cold glass of water. Not appealing I know but it’s for my health and mental well being. Once this month is over I can slowly introduce fruit and grains back in but slowly and eventually I can take on a burger but if I get used to this I might just stick with it. I enjoy feeling good.


Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge
This is my story and the reason why I jumped at the opportunity to do this with Jim and Ryan. My change was well on its way but I didn’t realize what I had until I was deep into this challenge. The three of us were dealing with our own issues and we thought, “if we are dealing with shit then maybe others in the industry are too.” We wanted to inspire people to do better for themselves. In this industry we do for everyone else and never think of US. With this challenge we are doing for US while pushing each other to be healthy and do what’s best for our individual situations. Now that you know my story I would love to read yours. If you would like to share you can email it to or if you have joined the Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge group on Facebook then please post it there. I’m on my road to recovery and I am honored to share this journey with all of you.

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?
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