Good evening folks and welcome back to another installment of Within the Trenches. One thing I have always wanted to do with this show is focus on dispatch stories, which I have done but I also want to start focusing on topic driven episodes. So far on the show we have taken on PTSD in dispatch, dispatch training standards and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).
Continuing with the focus on topic driven episodes, I got the chance to chat with Matt, Senior Director of Product Management for Smart911 by Rave Mobile Safety. In this episode we touch on what Smart911 does, how they started and how the program works. According to their website, “Smart911 is a free service that allows citizens across the U.S. to create a Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 to have in the event of an emergency.”
Make sure to listen and share with your friends and family. Also make sure to check out The Thin Gold Line on Facebook for 9-1-1 news, memes and discussion. Another source for 9-1-1 news, memes and discussion is Diary of a Mad Dispatcher. KMK, the pages creator recently wrote and published a book called, Endure (The Greyson-Slade Series). You can find it on Amazon so check it out!
The Thin Gold Line – Facebook
Episode topics –
- What is Smart911?
- Where is Smart911 available?
- Smart911 success story
- Changes in 9-1-1 tech
- The future of Smart911
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By Ricardo — 5 years ago
Good morning and welcome back to another episode of Within the Trenches. This is going to be episode 79 and I’m going a little out of order but after recording episode 80, a milestone for the show, I had to post it up right away. Steve of Fairfax County 911 out of Virginia had an excellent story and if you haven’t listened to it yet, you need to. Today’s episode was going to be with Misti, a dispatcher and admin for “911 Dispatchers – Did I Really Say That?” but we had to reschedule so she will be on for a future episode and I look forward to that. My guest today is a good friend of mine and has been on the show before. He is the North Central Regional Director for National NENA and the Director of Vigo county out of Indiana.
In this episode we covered several silly and or ridiculous calls and shared some stories of our own. Below you will find the link to all the calls we referenced from the news affiliates. As always, if you have any questions or would like to be a guest on the show you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
KTUU – Ridiculous 911 calls
Episode topics –
Post Views: 403
- Suck it call
- Vampire Call
- Seagull Call
- And more
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
I have always said that, “in the moment of crisis, we are the voice of authority.” It’s something that I firmly believe. We as dispatchers are your link to the help you need. We do our best with every call because that’s what we do. We get the job done and send help where help is needed. When our caller is overwhelmed with panic and fear we are there to calm them down. It’s not an easy job and it amazes me how some people can think that we are merely drones with no emotion. I can tell you from personal experience that this is far from true. The job itself is easy to learn but it’s the emotional stress that can take a toll on you.
Let’s start with a scenario. You wake up on a beautiful spring morning. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you have the whole day ahead of you. You look over at your spouse and your heart drops. What you see before you has taken your breath way and your heart is racing. You panic and begin to shake your spouse…he doesn’t move. You want to cry but you can’t. You begin to sweat and in your moment of shock and panic you run next door to ask your neighbor for help. This can’t be happening. Not today, not for a long time you think, but it is happening. You lay next to your lifeless spouse as your neighbor calls 911. It’s horrifying, is it not? This is a call I took a few years ago. I spoke to the neighbor and all I could hear in the background was a female yelling for her husband. I remained calm and did my job but inside I was dying.
“Don’t leave me! Please, not now…we had so much time left together!”
I’ve heard shouting like this many times. I have felt my callers pain and I think what makes it hard is that there is no closure. When we take 911 calls we try to deal with them one at a time but sometimes it gets so busy that we have to go back and forth between them. Once the call is over and help has arrived we go right to the next one. Sometimes the only way we find out the outcome is when someone calls for the medical examiner. I mean, if we ever get the chance we’ll find out some information but otherwise we’re in the dark and it makes it hard. I’ve listened to more death than you can imagine. I have heard those taking their last breaths, and I have heard families grieving for their loved ones. One can develop thick skin but it doesn’t always work. After listening to the screams of those in need and those in mourning it definitely starts to penetrate the defenses of ones emotions.
I remember when I worked in Florida many years ago. It was my first night alone and I was chatting with the Chief before he headed home. As he left the door swung open. A lady ran in crying and screaming. I could barely make out what she was saying. The Chief and an officer left to a near by residence and the lady remained in the lobby sobbing. She had just come from her residence where she found her husband. She had recently left him but decided to go patch things up. She wanted to be with him again but instead she found his suicide note. This is how my dispatching career began. I remember how surreal the moment was. I remember how I felt for this woman who had just found her husband dead. I wanted to go over and hug her as she cried for him but I couldn’t. I had a job to do and I remained in my seat. For the rest of my time in Florida, I believe that was the worst call I ever experienced. It wasn’t until my current job that I dealt with it more frequently.
There is nothing worse than listening to someone die. Those last gasping breaths can haunt you. The calls that get me the most have to do with giving CPR instructions. I was once told that if you’re giving CPR instructions the person has a 5% chance of coming back. Every call I have taken, I hope and pray that the person falls within that 5%. It doesn’t always happen that way though. There is no consistent happy ending but the majority of the time there are other factors to ones death that CPR cannot fix. It’s a hard job but this is what my co-workers and I do. I could go on and on with the scary parts of my job but I will stop for now. There is a lot more that I have dealt with but this is just another glimpse into dispatch. The emotions flow within us like any other person but we hold back in order to do the best job imaginable. Would you ask for anything less?Post Views: 460
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
Alcohol. It can be fun and it can suck the life out of you. I’m sure for most of us, we have at one time or another over indulged when we should have held back. Some of us have probably had so much of a specific drink that just the smell or thought makes us sick to our stomach. Can you remember a time when this happened? Can you remember if you woke up in bed or next to the toilet? It is always fun until the next morning or if you had way too much then the nightmare begins that same night.
When I think of moments like this I think about Christmas 2001 and my run in with a jerk named Bacardi. I had recently moved to Florida and my family and I were going to spend the holidays with my cousins and my uncle. They were having two separate celebrations so we were going to head to my cousins first and then my uncles. It was about 10:30 in the morning and we were getting ready to head to my cousins house. I helped pack the car and I noticed a Mustang pull into the drive way. I approached the vehicle and there sat my cousin Emmett and my uncle.
“Why don’t you come with us? The rest of the family is going to meet at our place later anyway,” explained Emmett.
I stood there for a moment and decided I would go. I got in and noticed there was a case of Michelob Light in the back already. It was still early so I figured that the beer was for later on. When we arrived at my uncles home I brought the beer into the garage. I was going to take it inside when my uncle laughed and asked what I was doing. I told him I was taking it inside for later and he responded with,
“This is just the beginning. Pass me one.”
I froze for a moment and a rush of scared and excited feelings ran through my body. I’m sure I was about 98% scared and 2% excited because I had to pee. I sat with them and we drank while reflecting on old times and listening to Mexican music. We were having an excellent time and we tore up plenty of tamales. Before I knew it the case was gone. It was still early and I was relieved that we were done because I wasn’t sure that I could take much more. We sat around a little longer and my eyes popped wide open when another case emerged. Apparently there was a back up inside and we hit it again. This time it was just my cousin and I taking them down. My uncle had actually only had a few and was sobering up for the rest of the day.
The day went on and the festivities were great. Emmett and I had finished about half of the second case over several hours when he brought out a very large bottle of Bacardi that had been purchased in Mexico a while back. I wasn’t a huge fan of Bacardi but I thought, “What the hell.” We started swigging from the bottle and chasing it with beer. My uncle told us to be careful and we blew off his warnings because we thought we were badass. Toward the evening I accompanied my uncle and my cousin to a friends house where they were celebrating as well. This is where the nightmare began. I remember arriving at their friends trailer and several Mexican guys outside standing around a campfire. They were all dressed in patented button up dress shirts, nut hugger Wranglers, belt buckles, shit kicker cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. The music was blaring and the beer was flowing.
The next thing I remember was being arm in arm with everyone, swaying back and forth, and singing.
The next time I woke up I was sitting in my uncles truck with my head on the dash and I was looking down at the floor board.
“You ok cuz?”
I turned my head to the right and there was Emmett. We were both in the same position and he looked like hell. I’m sure I didn’t look any better and the world was spinning.
“Cuz I…I think I need to puke.”
“No bro! Not in here, you need to go outside.”
“I can’t move…I have to puke.”
There was nothing I could do. If I had moved I probably would have chucked right there. I took a deep breath and told my cousin to do what needed to be done.
“Well…maybe I can ho….rahhhhhhhhhhhhh”
There it went, all over the floor board. Tamales with a side of alcohol filled the truck and I patted his back. I told him it would be alright, I told him we would be ok but I was simply lying to myself because the aroma hit me next. The hot funk filled the truck and my mouth began to water. I couldn’t hold back anymore.
“Rahhhhhhhhhh, *deep breath* rahhhhhh”
“You ok cousin?”
“I’m scared bro, I’m scared.”
I wanted to cry as my body rejected the trash I had taken in. Christmas had turned into a nightmare and I had no one to blame but myself. We were in there for a while and you would think we would have moved from the vomit filled truck but we didn’t. I was praying that I would feel better when my uncle ripped the door open.
“WTF did you two do to my truck? I can’t believe….DAMN IT!”
He was a little mad at us and for a good reason too. We made it back to his place and my mom was there to take me home. I spent the rest of the night with my head in a garbage can and I had to drink water just to get the remaining alcohol out of my system. It was a bad night and since then I have never had Bacardi again. I don’t drink like that anymore and I’m happy, but I will never forget this day. Although I like telling the story, it makes me want to puke. If anything I can use this story as a scare tactic for when my children get older and ask about drinking.Post Views: 456