You Might also like
By Ricardo — 6 years ago
Within Allegan County Central Dispatch sits one of several seasoned 9-1-1 operators. Her 20 years of experience have contributed to the safety of the public as well as her co-workers in public safety. During down time, she jokes with her co-workers in the room. Having a contagious laugh, the others can’t help but join in. The phones rings, the room goes silent.
“9-1-1 where’s your emergency?”
This is how Tammy Gane answers a 9-1-1 call. She’s calm and professional with a helping of patience. She questions the caller asking for an address, name, phone number, and the situation. The call involves a car that was broken into over night. Something easy when it comes to taking a 9-1-1 call but it’s not always this easy. Tammy has dealt with far worse during the course of her career.
Gane, the oldest of three, grew up in western Michigan. The daughter of a homemaker and father, who was a truck driver, was taught a strong work ethic. This quality would follow her throughout her life and carry on in the lives of her two daughters. She began her career through friends and a chance meeting at an FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) corn roast. This meeting led to a night where she caught the public safety bug.
“I had a lot of friends that were in law enforcement and I played softball. Some of my girlfriends on the team were also married to state troopers so that’s how I got into the circle. One year I was at the corn roast with one of my girlfriends and I met Rachel’s dad there.” Rachel, being her eldest daughter, “we ended up going to a bar and his buddies left him. He wanted me to give him a ride home but I didn’t really know him so I made him stay at a hotel.”
She smiles and laughs as she reflects on this memory. “The next day he asked for a ride again and I didn’t even know him so I bought him a bus ticket and put him on the bus.” Laughter ensues as she continues her story. “We started dating and when we decided to get married I moved to Kalamazoo.” Gane explains that around the summer of ’85 her husband at that time had asked her if she wanted to ride with him during his night shift. It was the night before Thanksgiving. Gane had decided to accompany her husband that night. She started out the shift in dispatch where she describes the scene as “just crazy busy.” She later rode with her husband and witnessed a fight with a disorderly subject and radio traffic that left her pumped.
That night in dispatch was only the beginning. She would later land a job with Kalamazoo’s Juvenile Court. She dealt with child abuse neglect cases, delinquent adoption cases, and worked the switchboard. Gane also worked for a local attorney but moved to St. Joseph some time later. Around this time, she gave birth to her daughter Rachel and had gone from having a clerk’s job in the jail of Berrien County to working in dispatch. Her training back then in dispatch was that of pure observation and common sense. Her very first 9-1-1 call was someone who wanted to commit suicide.
“One night it got really busy and the 9-1-1 line was ringing and no one was available and the supervisor says, ‘answer it’.” Gane sits up as she gets into her story. “It was a guy saying, ‘I’m going to kill myself’ and I was thinking to transfer him to the suicide hotline.” The call was transferred while the caller continued to sob. When the suicide hotline picked up it was only an automated system. She disconnected from the hotline and continued to speak to the caller.
“I start talking to him and his wife had left him. Every Thursday night, I’ll never forget this…He goes and gets groceries and when he came home there was a note from his wife that she was leaving him and she left him a tape, a cassette tape, like a letter on a tape. He put the tape in, heard part of it and the machine ate it.” She continued to speak to him but the caller kept putting the phone down. “I kept thinking I was going to hear a gun shot,” Gane explains. Luckily she did not hear a gun shot. Instead she was able to keep her cool and keep the caller talking long enough for the officers to get there.
She tells the story of her first 9-1-1 call as if it were yesterday. She’s spoken to many suicidal callers since then but recently she answered a call that made national news. On the morning of Feb. 28th 2012, Gane took a call from a suicidal subject who led police on a high-speed car chase. She could hear a man screaming hysterically with police sirens in the background. Gane used her experience, calm demeanor, and patience to persuade the caller to not only slow down but also pull over. “First I asked, how fast are you going? And then lets take it down to 50 and let me know when you get to 30 and he just started listening,” Gane explains. The call can be heard in its entirety here but if you do a simple Google search you can find reports from all over on how well Gane did during this call.
Gane continues to set the bar high for 9-1-1 dispatchers. She describes her job as one where, “nothing is easy, it’s constant problem solving.” There is no real break within the walls of dispatch and Gane attributes stress relief by having good co-workers. They, and her two daughters admire her. “My mom is the most hard working woman I know. She has taught me the work ethic that I have today, and I truly thank her for that.” In the end, Gane looks back at her career and how to stay ahead of the rest.
“You have to be able to put up with everything. Deal with the bad and the good and hopefully the good outweighs the bad.”
(Audio Source: 911dispatch.com)Post Views: 79
By Ricardo — 4 years ago
The No 9 Needed campaign is in full force! What is this campaign you ask? The No 9 Needed campaign, as Mark Fletcher of Avaya put it, means 9-1-1 from any phone WITHOUT a prefix “9.” I couldn’t have explained it better myself. The campaign is gaining support from all over the globe, but like most grassroots movements, it began with a tragic incident.
On December 1 2013, Kari Dunn lost her life at the hands of her estranged husband. She had agreed to meet him at a hotel for a short visitation with their three children. During this time Kari was attacked. Her nine-year-old daughter did what she had been taught to do in an emergency and picked up the phone to dial 9-1-1 but the call never went through. After trying to call for help she gathered her younger siblings and was able to get help from a neighboring room.
So what went wrong? Kari’s daughter dialed the right number but the problem was in the system. In order to call an outside line the prefix “9” needs to be dialed first. The sequence would be 9-9-1-1. Kari’s daughter had no idea and who would? In a situation like this one would dial what they know. One would dial 9-1-1 not 9-9-1-1. Shortly after the incident Kari’s father Hank Hunt started a petition for Kari’s Law on Change.org. The following is from the description of the petition,
We are attempting to ensure that any person needing police, EMS or the Fire Department at any hotel or motel location may be able to dial the numbers 911 and receive emergency response. In a panic, any under age child, or for that matter anyone in an emergency situation should be able to depend on dialing 911 from any phone in the United States and receiving assistance.
Kari’s story and the petition for Kari’s Law have circled the globe. 425,000+ people have signed the petition and it continues to gain support. Below you will find links to the petition, a fundraiser for Kari’s children, a link to Change it for Kari on Facebook and articles from Mark Fletcher of Avaya and a symbol I designed for the campaign so that you can show your support. There are two sizes and are both high-resolution quality. On February 9 2014, Kari’s birthday, the No 9 Needed campaign asks that you show your support by changing your Facebook profile picture to the logo below. You can do the same on Twitter and please share the petition as well. You can use the hashtags #KarisLaw and #No9Needed. Let’s make this a trending topic, let’s do it for Kari!
Change.org – Kari’s Law
Change it for Kari – Facebook
A Give Forward Campaign supporting Kari’s children – Web
You may download the image here to change your profile pictures or simply share them. Thanks for your support! You can also download them from a public dropbox folder by click the following links. 400×400 version & 2500×2500 version. (Both Hi-Res quality)Post Views: 42
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Making memories is huge for me. I love taking pictures of my family whenever I get the chance. It can probably get annoying since my phone is attached to my hip and I’m constantly pulling it out but I want to catch moments to reflect on. Even when I don’t have the camera out I like to do things that are special. They can be the smallest things but those are the one we remember most right? I have been thinking a lot about my family and the time I have spent with my son. There are a lot of things he has picked up from watching me and we have laughed about everything. Soon enough my baby Lola will be born and we will make new memories with her. What’s made me think about all this more than usual has been two specific Country songs. Now, I will admit that I am not a huge Country fan by any means but the songs I have heard are making me think about my kids. The first song is by Rodney Atkins and it’s called, “Watching You”. It was introduced to me by a co-worker and right away it hit home. The song talks about the time spent between father and son and how the son has been watching what he does. He uses a four letter word and his father asks him where he learned to talk like that. The chorus and reply from the son begins with, “I’ve been watching you.” I had to laugh when I first heard it because it reminds me of my son and I.
I remember when he was around four years old and he would play on the deck while I grilled. My son would tell me that the deck was our ship and that we were sailing the seas in search for treasure. I was given the title of cook, and first matey, as he pronounced it and we got to fight off mean pirates. We even had a canon to take out the pirate ships and once we were hit and taking on water my son was always able to get the water out before it put out the fire to our grill. We still pretend to sword fight but he has now moved on to the wonders of Star Wars. I remember doing my best Yoda voice and he blew me out of the water with an impression of his own. He’s so much like me and it’s crazy how he already has my sense of humor. We crack jokes all the time and listen to a lot of music. His taste in music is all over the place but what I enjoy the most is when he busts out in air guitar and sings.
“Check this out!” He goes into air guitar mode and acts out the intro to Working Man by Rush.
“Ok, now you do the drums and I’ll sing.”
I start out with the drums and he pulls out an air mic. Instead of the intro he goes straight for the chorus, his favorite.
“I guess that’s why they call me! They call me the working man! I guess that’s what I am…”
We both stand there like rock gods and play until we see fit. I love every moment of it and our zany and quirky moments tie together with the second country song that has me thinking. It’s called, “Just Fishin'” by Trace Adkins. The song is about a father and daughter who have gone on a fishing trip. While on this trip the daughter is telling her father about her dolls, and ballerina shoes while getting her fishing pole ready. “She thinks we’re just fishing” is what comes next in the song and it’s the father saying that while she thinks they’re just fishing, they are also making memories. This is what I have done with my family and it will continue on until it’s my time many years from now. Whether we’re playing video games, watching cartoons, pretending we’re Jedi’s or pretending we’re pirates in search of treasure, I will do it as much as I can. We only have so much time with our kids before they’re all grown up and off on there own. Don’t let time pass you by. Take as many pictures and record as many video’s as you can. I know I try but sometimes it’s not enough. I am consumed with my work and I need to learn to put it aside and just live. When my daughter is born I’m sure the pretending will go from Jedi’s and Pirates to tea parties and dolls. I’m ready to continue the adventure. I’m ready to create memories, as much as I can…
(Below are the video’s I mentioned. Enjoy them!)Post Views: 62