Good morning everyone! I’m back with another awesome episode of Within the Trenches. In this episode I tried something different from the norm. At the suggestion of two awesome 9-1-1 pro’s, Kristina and Shelley, I grabbed my digital audio recorder and walked the expo hall for spot interviews. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun and I was able to get some good audio.
Probably one of the most interesting parts of this episode dealt with THOR Shield that is made by Intrado. Monica, who works with the company, walked me through this massive mobile PSAP (Public-Safety Answering Point.) The trailer of this unit sits 17 dispatchers and has its own conference room on the second floor. I wanted to get some photos but was unable to. I was told that I can get some shots emailed to me and as soon as I get those I will post them up for all to see. I hope you enjoy this episode and as always you can email the show at email@example.com.
For more information on Intrado’s THOR Shield click here.
Episode topics –
Spot interview w/Kristina of Bartlett PD in Tennessee
Spot interview w/Rob of Queensland Police Service out of Australia
Tour of THOR Shield with Monica of Intrado
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By Ricardo — 6 years ago
Good morning folks and happy Fourth of July! Today is a grand day. It is our Independence Day. Be proud to be part of this great country folks! We are definitely freer than most countries and I am personally grateful for that. I would like to thank our Fore Fathers, those in the military, and everyone who took part in making this day special. With that said I want to thank those in Ancient China who invented something that has been a staple of our Independence Day and every major holiday. This invention is also the cause of many headaches and neighbor disputes.
According to whoinventedit.net, “Fireworks are said to have originated in ancient China. The popular story goes that a cook mixed together saltpeter, charcoal and sulphur. The mix started burning. The cook went a step further and placed it in a bamboo tube. It exploded and the first fireworks came to be.” The use of fireworks has always been fun but recently they have been the cause of fires. Take for instance a fire that occurred this past Sunday in Kentwood, Mich. that destroyed a local church. WOOD TV8 spoke with the Kentwood police chief stating, “authorities have determined a blaze that devastated St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church was probably caused by fireworks.” Adding to the complaint of fireworks comes a new law that was recently passed in Michigan where the original was amended to expand the types of fireworks that may be sold. The explanation of the new law can be found at michigan.gov.
The law causes a major concern of ongoing firework use because of the heat wave that has smothered West Michigan. Dry conditions and firework sparks can be a lethal combination. Adding to this is a small part of the new law in reference to the use of fireworks and how it will be enforced. This portion of the law reads,
“MCL 28.457(2) allows local units of government to enact an ordinance regulating the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks; however, an ordinance enacted shall not regulate the use of consumer fireworks on the day before, the day of, or the day after a national holiday.
National holidays, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 6103, are:
- New Year’s Day, January 1.
- Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
- Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
- Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
- Independence Day, July 4.
- Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
- Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
- Veterans Day, November 11.
- Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
- Christmas Day, December 25.”
So what does this mean for tonight and tomorrow night? Well folks, it means that if people are setting off fireworks tonight into the wee hours or tomorrow, the police can’t do anything about it. Unless your property is in direct danger you will get to listen to pops and booms that come as close as we will ever get to living within a warzone. So happy Fourth of July and make sure to take your sleeping pills or drink some booze because it’s going to be a long night. Cheers!
Err…wait a minute. One last thing people. If you happen to call 9-1-1 for annoying fireworks and they tell you that nothing can be done, please don’t shoot the messenger. You might just end up talking to me and well…I’m just doing my job.Post Views: 175
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Lately I have been talking about the good and the bad of 911 dispatch. Today I would like to talk about the funny stuff that happens. This is the stuff that no one hears about unless you’re a co-worker or a friend who has heard or read our stories. I know I have written about a few already but here are some more to tickle your funny bone. When you think of 911 dispatch you think about emergency calls, police, ems, and the fire department. The majority of the calls we get on 911 are non-emergency. Most of the people who call on 911 with a non-emergency call will ask for the non-emergency number but we take their call on 911 either way. They are going to get us anyway so we take it. Those are the nice people. We also get calls from people who start yelling and swearing at us because they’re upset with their neighbors dog running in their yard and tell us to just get someone out there before they shoot it. These people are not nice and are ones that we talk to almost every other day.
The frequent callers are also the ones that make my job interesting and funny. I remember dealing with a couple who were always calling about their arguments. Every time the officers went out there they would end up clearing the address without anything being resolved. Now, it wasn’t because the officers didn’t do their jobs, it was because the couple kept saying that they were fine and didn’t need our help. Well, one day I took a call from them and I was speaking to the soon to be ex-husband who I will call Jake. The poor guy was upset because his wife, who I will call Emily, was fed up and ready to move out. Before I move on I want to make sure you understand that I’m not trying to be a jerk here. No domestic situation is ever funny but sometimes the information is misunderstood and you just have to go with the flow and laugh it off. I could hear Emily yelling in the background saying that all Jake cared about was their little girl. I figured she was talking about their daughter but I was wrong.
“Sir, are you ok?”
“Where is Emily at?”
“She’s at the house and I’m at the end of the driveway with our little girl waiting for the officer.”
“Ok, so whose all involved? It’s you, Emily, and…”
“Our little girl. She’s so upset.”
“Yeah? How old is she?”
“She’s almost 5 years old sir.”
“Yeah! You just wait until the officers get here! I’m outta here”, Emily yelled in the distance.
I started to hear a yelp or crying of some sort.
“Sir is that your daughter crying?”
“Yeah…you said you were with your little girl.”
“Oh…no she’s not my daughter. She’s my dog.”
EGG ON MY FACE! The whole time I thought this was the guys daughter and it was actually his dog. I could hear it yelping more and more and Jake began to sniffle as well. What else could I do or say?
“Sir are you ok?”
“Yes, but my little girl is upset and I’m getting upset as well.”
I took a deep breath and went for it.
“Well sir, the officers will be there soon. Just hold her and comfort her. Let her know it will be okay.”
“It’s ok honey. Everything will be alright.”
I couldn’t believe it worked. At first I wanted to hold up the phone so that I could chuckle. I mean, why would I tell the guy to comfort his dog? It seemed hilarious but it actually worked and Jake, as well as his dog, were able to calm down. Calls like this one can go either way. You can say something that will ultimately help or you can say something that will make you feel like a jerk. For example, I have taken calls where I…well, let me put it in dialog form. It will work better that way.
“Can you hear me? Hello, are you there?”
“Yes, I can hear you now. I think someone is trying to break into my house and my dad is at work.”
“Ok, where is your mom at?”
“Um…she died a few years ago.”
D’oh! This is the kind of conversation that sucks because you’re thrown off your game and you think for a moment that you just jacked up your call.
“I’m really sorry.”
“Oh it’s fine. You didn’t know she was dead. I do miss her though.”
So now the caller is thinking about her deceased mother instead of the person who is breaking into the house. Another example comes from a call that I posted where I thought I was speaking to a Carl and it turned out to be a Carol. Calls like this are very funny but it’s only afterward that you’re able to laugh. At the moment of FAIL there is no time to laugh. One can only apologize for the mistake and hope for the best. There are also calls where we speak to the disturbed. These are the calls that take good speaking skills and customer service. When you take a call from someone who hates you for no reason you have to take it like a professional. Let’s look at some dialog.
“911 where’s your emergency?”
“Hello? What’s your address?”
“You don’t need my address! You just need to listen!”
“Ok sir, take a deep breath.”
“I will take nothing! You need to copy down this number and call it! It’s a matter of national security man!”
I didn’t know what to think at first. The guy was calling from a pre-paid phone and had no GPS coordinates so there was no way for me to locate him.
“Yes sir, go ahead.”
He gave me the number and I could hear him huffing and puffing.
“Now! You need to call this number and tell them they are trying to hurt the President!”
“Sir, what number is this?”
“It’s to the Whitehouse man! You need to call them!” *click*
The guy hung up on me and I chuckled a little. He called a few more times and yelled at me like you wouldn’t believe. What else could I do but laugh after each call. Think of Sam Kinison yelling at you over and over for no reason and saying things that would make the devil blush. That was my night and when I finally got the chance I called the number.
“Whitehouse switchboard how may I direct your call?”
I was speechless…
“Hi…umm…I wasn’t expecting anyone to answer the line.”
“Well my name is Ricardo with 911 dispatch and there was a guy calling about…”
Before I could go any further the operator said the guys name.
“Yeah that’s him.”
“Oh yeah, we’ve taken several calls from that guy. He’s harmless.”
We shared a chuckle and hung up. I couldn’t believe that the guy actually called the Whitehouse with the stuff he was telling me. I got a few more calls from him over time but in the end he was able to get the help he needed. It’s the calls like the ones I have mentioned that make my job so interesting. I have dealt with every type of call you can think of. It takes thick skin, good customer service, and common sense to do what I do but the most important thing you need is a good sense of humor.Post Views: 634
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
I have been searching for the author of this quote. I have found several attached to it but in the end it all means the same. It’s something I often feel. I had the wind knocked out of me earlier today. I was not struck physically but the result was the same, the loss of air. I saw you today. And…I have seen you in passing but it was nothing like today. I had just left from a friends house and decided to go to the store for a few things. I pulled into the parking lot and headed up front. When I got there I had to wait for a few cars to pass in order for me to turn. As I pulled up to the stop sign I saw a couple people coming out. I stopped to let them pass and I froze. It was you, son. It felt as though someone had socked me in the gut. I couldn’t breathe and all I could do was stare. I was stuck in slow motion as you and your mother walked passed me. I saw some of myself in you at that age. Your walk is all me and as I caught my breath your mother turned her head at my direction. I quickly hid my face and continued on.
I parked a couple rows down. I sat there for a moment fighting back my tears. I was overwhelmed with emotion and my heart pounded against my chest. I looked into my side mirror and I could actually see you standing by your van. I took a deep breath, got out of my car and made my way to the entrance of the store. As I got close to the entrance I turned and saw you running with a cart. I wanted to run and meet up with you and tell you,
“Hey, can I get that cart from you?”
I would have respected your mother’s wishes. I would have kept silent as to who I really am. It would have meant the world to me to just hear your voice and interact with you. Instead I held back and simply watched you put the cart away. You ran back and I had to chuckle because you run just like me. I fought back my tears once again and walked into the store. The moment was short but I’ll never forget it. You were so close to me. I wanted to say hello, I wanted to beep…I wanted to do anything just to make you turn and look at me. Maybe you would somehow recognize me after all these years. I have to admit that when I saw you today it was like seeing you for the first time. You took my breath away when you were born and you did the same 12 years later. When we finally speak, I will be able to tell you everything I have been wanting to tell you. Until then…maybe you’ll stumble upon this. Maybe you will find it interesting and moving. Maybe…just maybe you’ll be able to connect the dots. Maybe…until that day Richie.Post Views: 187