Good afternoon and welcome back to another awesome episode of Within the Trenches. It has been a pretty busy week with the announcement of Indiana’s statewide text-to-9-1-1 plan but I now have time so I’m posting a brand new episode from Indiana’s NENA conference. In this episode I spoke with Jessica, a dispatcher / CTO with Kosciusko 9-1-1 Communications. Jessica was honored during the opening ceremony with a few others where she received the Teamwork Award. Jessica shares how she got started in 9-1-1, calls she’s taken as well as the details of her teamwork award.
Make sure to check this out and share it. As always you can email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Episode topics –
- How Jessica got her start
- Dispatch experience
- Teamwork Award
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By Ricardo — 1 year ago
Guest Blog Post
Author: Rachael Brain
Massachusetts EMT & Emergency Dispatcher
What did you do today?
Today I told a young man he had to stop crying so I could help him perform CPR on his mother. The mother who overdosed in the middle of his cartoons. I had to talk to a soldier suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder and try to keep him on the line and convince him not to jump down onto the highway to stop the voices in his head. I had to listen to the graphic details of a sexual assault. I had to ask a mentally handicapped boy to stay away from the gun beside his fathers body as he described a horrific “brain painting” on the wall. Finally, I had to listen to the last raspy, agonal respirations of a two month old baby, because I wasn’t able to calm his terrified, distraught father enough to begin infant CPR.
I’m a 911 Dispatcher, which basically means I’m your gateway to help in an emergency. I don’t get weekends off and I miss almost every major holiday with my family so that I can be there to help protect and serve yours.
You almost never think about me until the moment you require my services, but believe me when I say that I am always thinking about you. Even if we’ve never met.
I’m the voice on the line during some of the worst moments of your life. You may think I’m cold and clinical and unfeeling. You may believe I’m a robot asking the same questions over and over again. You may call me names and curse me and believe I’m heartless. Trust me, I feel.
I feel every gasp and gurgle. I feel every scream of pain. Every heart wrenching cry of every mother of every lost child. I feel every second of fear with you. After the white knights have arrived to save the day, armed with the answers to those unfeeling questions, I feel them. When you have been brought to the hospital, treated and are back safe and warm in your bed, I feel them. Long after you thank the hero in uniform and you forget I was ever involved at all, I feel them.
I almost never know how the story ends for you. For me, it is an endless ellipsis…
Sometimes the sound of your voice replays in my head while I’m driving home. The sun will be shining and my face may be smiling as I’m surprised by the gas station attendant asking why I’m crying. Sometimes I don’t even feel the tears that just seem to leak. Sometimes it takes me a second or two before I realize they are leaking for you.
Sometimes I get frustrated and I don’t know why. I lash out at the people I love in my life for no especially important reason. I hold on to the guilt when I feel helpless. Sometimes I want to talk to people about the things that I’m feeling, but that’s hard too. I can’t tell anybody much. And my stories aren’t really the kind of stories most people want to hear. So most of the time, I just keep you in my head.
Sometimes, people ask me if I love what I do. I don’t believe anyone really loves it. I think when you first start out in EMS, you love the idea of it. Helping people. You love the feeling of brotherhood. You love being entrusted with the guardianship of your fellow man. But you don’t love what you do. Not in the depths of your soul. Because this job chips away at you, little by little. We have all lost brothers and sisters in this field. Killed in action, or the bottle, or their own hand when the voices get too loud. But we don’t do this job because we love it.
So why do we do this job?
We do it because it needs to be done. We do it because for whatever reason, those of us called to it, can. It’s as simple and as complex as that. I have friends and family who could never stomach the burden of the things I’ve seen working on the ambulance or the things I’ve said and heard on the 911 line. They could never carry the weight of those voices. So I CHOOSE to stand by for those moments when you need me. I commit to being there, staying calm and taking a little bit of your suffering into myself.
Do I love what I do? The truth is, No. Sometimes I wish I could just walk away and leave all the voices behind. The truth is, I know I never will. I will carry the voices with me, your voices, until they are all that’s left in the dark. There is another truth though. A deeper, truth. We have never met and will probably never meet. I will never hold your hand or hug you in an embrace. I will never wrap a present and fix it with a bow with your name on it. I will never get a birthday card or be invited to your wedding. You probably forgot my name the second you hung up the phone. But I love you. Deeply and profoundly, as sister or brother, I love you. Whoever you are.
Today, I answered the phone, “911, What is the location of your emergency?” and I held my breath…
What did you do today?
-Rachael, A 911 DispatcherPost Views: 99
By Ricardo — 6 years ago
Hitting rock bottom is the worse feeling in the world. You feel worthless, and things can spiral so far out of the norm that you begin to wonder if it will ever end. Once you’ve made the necessary changes, you slowly make your way back to the top. You feel that nothing can stop you but this is your arrogant side shining bright. Anything can bring you down if you let it. When I was on my rise to the top I had a few hiccups. One hiccup turned into a belch that almost cost me my life. It’s the rash decisions that put one in a place where they might not come back but I swear someone was watching out for me that night. Before this incident I was on my way up to where I am today. I was kicking life in the ass and well…life was about to kick mine.
I had gone out with a good friend of mine to a local sports bar to play pool and have a couple drinks. We took down a pitcher and decided to chill for the rest our time since he was driving. It was a good time and we met a few people. I started to noticed that my friend was having a few more with them and although I was asked, I decided to remain sober. Something didn’t feel right from then on. We continued to meet new people and hours passed. I had been guzzling Pepsi since I had stopped drinking hours prior and my stomach began to hurt. I felt nervous for some reason and my friend was having a great time with everyone else. He too, had stopped drinking and didn’t act like he had as much as I thought. My nerves began to settle but there was this voice that kept calling to me. Now, you know what voice that is right? It’s the voice of reason that tells you something is off but you’re too stubborn to listen.
As the voice continued to echo in the back of my head my buddy had decided that we should go to a club to meet a couple of the girls we had met at the sports bar. I had told him to stop by my house on the way so that I could get some more money and in all reality I had no intentions on going. I was on the schedule for dispatch duty at 2pm the next day and I needed to get some rest. When we arrived at my home I told him I wasn’t going. He was cool with it and was going to head there himself but I noticed that he got a little hazy. The initial drive to my home was fine. There was nothing out of the ordinary but now he seemed very tired. He worked midnights and had been up for 24 hours already. The combination of bar play and work had proved to be too much for him but still he wanted to go to the club. I couldn’t let him go alone. I went for the keys but he wouldn’t give them up. After going back and forth for a while I jumped in the passenger seat. What was I thinking? Why did I get in the car when the voice in my head was telling me not to?
We took off and everything was fine. Once we hit the highway something changed. The car was getting going faster and we were weaving in and out of traffic. I gained tunnel vision from fear of what would happen next and all I could hear was my friend telling me to chill and that everything would be fine. As I looked around I noticed that the highway was wet and I asked my friend to slow down. I was sick to my stomach and the voice was no longer there. I had missed my chance to really listen and now I was headed for whatever life had waiting for me. I glanced over at the speedometer and I swear it looked to be over 100mph. I could see the water jumping from the road through the tires and past my window. I began to pray and held onto the handle above my door. We were quickly approaching a semi and once we passed on the left it happened. I was numb to the world and for a moment I couldn’t hear anything. There was no voice, the music in the car had disappeared and all that was left was life showing me what can happen to those who don’t listen to their voice of reason. Everything from then on was in slow motion. I see this as life giving you a chance to take everything in. You see exactly what is going on in order to remember every moment. It’s a way of learning a lesson.
We hit a patch of water in the highway and spun out of control. I saw the world spin around us and my friend kept telling me that it would be ok. We spun off the highway, down into a ditch and into some trees. When we hit the ditch the car went up on two wheels and we almost flipped. Had we gone over I’m sure that I wouldn’t be here typing this story. I closed my eyes for a moment as the sounds of the car breaking apart filled my ears. I prayed and prayed until we finally stopped spinning. A few cars stopped but never checked on us. The car was somewhat drivable and we made our way to the highway. My friend changed one of the tires that had gone flat and we decided to head home. We didn’t talk much on our way back. The car was still falling apart and the front passenger tire went flat. We drove on the rim the rest of the way and sparks flew up. I was still in shock when we stopped at a friends house to call my mom to come pick us up. The car was destroyed. The axel in back of the car was pretty damaged and I was surprised we were able to drive it as far as we did. When I finally got home I thanked God that we made it. I remember crying because I could have died that night. I was working hard to get back to the top in life and one decision almost cost me my life. It’s funny how one can feel like they are on top of the world and life can take that and slap you in the face to bring you back to reality. Life is interesting that way is it not? It seems that nothing gets through unless it’s some drastic and altering experience. Just remember that when facing a decision that feels off, don’t ignore the voice of reason. That voice, along with life can teach you a lesson. It’s up to you to make the right one…Post Views: 51
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
In honor of Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, and Friday the 13th this month, I would like to give a shout out to a special mom. First and foremost I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, my wife, my grandma’s, and my mother in law. This also goes out to all the other mom’s out there, but this post is a shout out to none other than Pamela Voorhees. If it were not for you and the sperm that laid claim to your egg we would have never been blessed with your son. More people would still be alive had he not been born but had they paid more attention to him, rather than ignore and heckle, there would never have been a problem in the first place right?
Because of their failure to protect your only son you did what any other mother would do. You sought revenge on those who failed your son and you murdered them. You only wanted to protect other children from being hurt the way he did and even channeled young Jason by repeating, “Killer Mommy” or a variation depending on who the victim was. In the end you yourself received a swift death by beheading for doing what you thought was right as a mother. Later on your son took the reigns and sought revenge on those who murdered you, his mom. The whispers within the woods of, “Shh Shh, Haa Haa” were actually your words shortened to “Ki Ma”. You did each other justice and if that doesn’t describe a mother/son relationship I don’t know what does. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!Post Views: 86