Good morning! This episode is sponsored by NENA and INdigital. I am currently in Nashville, TN for the 2014 National NENA Conference and this is the first of a series of episodes I’m recording here. In this episode I spoke with Brandy, a dispatcher with Licking County 911 Center out of Ohio and a Friends of 911 Scholarship winner. This is a must listen for anyone looking for information on not only the conference but how to apply for next years Friends of 9-1-1 scholarship.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to be a guest on the show, send an email to email@example.com.
Episode topics –
- Brandy’s dispatch story
- Friends of 9-1-1 Scholarship process
- Giving your name when speaking to someone you know on 9-1-1
- Networking with other dispatchers
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By Ricardo — 7 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: 112
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
People come and go throughout our lives. Some friends we hang onto and others become another face in the hallway. The sad truth is that eventually we lose our friends and loved ones whether you hang onto them or not. The good thing is that once they pass on there are things that occur that remind us of when they were alive. I had a conversation today that made me think of a few people. I felt compelled to write about them and some of the things that have kept them fresh in my memory.
In grade school I had a friend named David Walker. I don’t remember what grade I was in at the time but I remember we were good friends. We would joke around a lot and when I rode my cousins bus we would all sit in the same area and talk and joke around. I remember sitting in the cafeteria one time and we were rubbing our ears until they turned red. I remember us laughing our butts off over doing it. We were laughing enough that one of the aides in there told us to settle down and eat. A little while after that I stopped seeing him around school. Days turned into weeks. I thought he had moved but one Friday I was told that I needed to ride the bus to my aunts house. I sat with my cousins as usual and I noticed that David’s older sister was sitting up front. When we finally got to her house I ran up front and asked her where David had been. She looked puzzled. Her look of confusion turned to sadness and she began to cry.
“You don’t know?”
“You don’t know what happened to David?”
“No…I…I thought he moved.”
I remember moving out of her way and she cried as she left the bus. I was in shock and years later I was told that David and his grandfather had been killed in a car accident. It’s interesting how things stay with you huh? The main reason David stays fresh in my memory is because every now and then I rub my sons ear when we’re playing around. He gets annoyed but we have a good laugh afterward. Thanks for being a good friend David, it’s too bad I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye.
Years later I lost my Tio (uncle in spanish) Max. He was straight forward and very funny. Toward the end of his life he developed diabetes. He had it bad enough that he went blind. Out of everything bad that happened to him he still kept his sense of humor. One day my Tia’s (aunts in spanish) sat next to him and were asking questions about him but not directly to him. I remember him shaking his head and then laughing before bursting out,
“Damn, I might not be able to see anything but I’m not def.”
He was funny like that. He loved Redd Foxx and the apple pies from Crane’s in Fennville were gold. The week of his passing we were set to head down to Donna, TX to visit family. He told my mom in the beginning of the week that he felt he wasn’t going to make it on our trip. My mother told him not to talk that way and that everything would be fine. My mom told me that around 9 or 10pm she heard him yell out for her to help him. She went to check on him and he told her not to leave him. I had no idea any of this had occurred until I came home from school the following day. He had suffered a heart attack and died a few days later. It was a sad time but we made the trip either way. My Tio Max had been in the military when he was younger and it was his wish that when he passed away that his ashes be spread in different places. His wishes were fulfilled on our way down to Texas. When we arrived at his home my father spread the rest of his ashes there. We had all been in the back of the house cleaning and decided to go inside to rest. My sister Dee-von had stayed in back and I remember my father calling for her to come inside. After a bit my sister ran into the house. She seemed upset and my parents asked her what was wrong. She said that while she was in the tall grass that she saw my Tio Max and that he kept telling her to go inside. She heard my dad yell for her and looked his way. When she turned back our Tio was gone. We can only assume that there may have been a snake or something in the grass that would have harmed her and he was there to protect her. The next morning Dee-von seemed upset again. This time she told my parents that she had a dream about Tio Max. She said that everything was white with clouds on top and a ladder going up into them. She remembered climbing the ladder and Tio Max walking toward her.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m climbing up the ladder.”
“You can’t go up there?”
“Why? Because I’m not dead like you?”
“Well…yeah. Do you want to go up there with me?”
My sister says that they both climbed the ladder but when she got to the top she fell down and woke up. How does that make you feel after reading that? It amazes me how our loved ones communicate with us after they have passed. My sister was very young when this happened and it wasn’t until a year or two ago that I mentioned this and I had to remind her of it. From the look on her face I could tell she had no memory of it. I miss my Tio Max and the jokes he used to tell. I remember when he used to call me pan blanco and he would call my brother pan tostado. This is spanish for white bread and toast bread. I’m sure you get the joke but if not, he called us this because we were different shades of color.
Finally I would like to speak briefly on my Grandma Jimenez. I know I blog a lot about her but there is so much of my past that involves her. I remember my grandmother wearing perfume all the time. It was rare that she bought anything different and when she did the new stuff didn’t last long. She would always go back to her usual perfume and I loved the smell of it. When she passed away it was hard on my entire family and I. I visit her resting place as much as I can and one time something amazing happened. I felt a cool breeze whisk by me and I could smell her perfume. The sun shined bright and the smell of her perfume was around me. It put a smile on my face. Every now and then something like that happens. I’m sure my grandma visits me often but I can’t say for sure. It’s things like the ones I’ve mentioned here that remind us of our friends and family. The little things that you experienced with them is what stays with you. It keeps them fresh in your mind and it’s how our loved ones stay with us. What memories do you have? What happened to you that let you know a friend or family member was with you?Post Views: 205
By Ricardo — 6 years ago
Ever since I was a kid I have had a fascination with all things horror. I know, I’m a weirdo but it’s true. I dig what lurks in the darkness and things that go bump in the night. I grew up in Fennville, MI and my house was haunted. Now, I know that not everyone believes in ghosts or haunted houses but this home was definitely haunted. When you’re able to hear kids asking for help through the vents, it’s something that lets you know you’re not alone. There’s more to my house but I won’t go into it here. I already wrote a post on it but if you would like to read up on the scary things that happened you can click here. Throughout my childhood I watched a lot of scary movies. It seemed to go hand in hand with what I experienced at my house so maybe that’s why I’m such a big fan of horror. Either way though, as I grew older the games I played took a turn with the Survival Horror genre. It started with Resident Evil. I was a huge fan of trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and though the game was awesome it still didn’t quench my thirst for true horror.
I searched for something that would scare me and match what I felt growing up at home but nothing worked. Finally, during my senior year of high school I found a survival horror game that fit the bill. It was 1999 when Silent Hill came out. The buzz had been going around that this was Konami’s answer to Capcom’s Resident Evil. I bought the game in hopes that the buzz would be true. My friend Adam and I started the game and right off the bat the game was chilling and scary. What made this possible were the effects and camera shots. It was amazing how smooth the gameplay was and how the creators used different camera shots as if someone was actually watching your character walk around. The game is based on a regular guy named Harry Mason who is in search of his missing daughter in the abandoned town of Silent Hill. As he makes his way through the city he finds out that there is a connection between his daughter and the town. There is also a thick fog that fills Silent Hill and at times it appears to be snowing. Odd monsters roam the streets as well as rabid dogs. It was different from the norm and it actually scared me.
I think what scared me the most was going into the school and the hospital. The school is empty but what you hear is a different story. Children crying and laughing fill different rooms. Doors open and shut by themselves and throughout the game there is a siren that goes off. The town starts out looking spooky but once the siren goes off it morphs into something you would imagine Hell looking like. During this time there are more monters lurking and lunging at you. There are gory scenes and once you get to the hospital they get worse. Now earlier I mentioned snow but it turns out that what appears to be snow is actually ash thats falling from the sky. The town of Silent Hill has a violent and horrific past that involves a massive fire. It’s pretty interesting and it made me wonder whether or not it was based on something within our history. One day I decided to search for Silent Hill as a real town and what I found was a city named Centralia. Located in Pennsylvania, Centralia was once a booming town due to its coal mining. All was good until May of 1962 when an abandoned strip mine caught fire. There are many theories as to how it started but in the end the local fire department was unable to put it out. The strip mine underneath the town of Centralia burned and caused massive damage. It was enough that the government paid to relocate the residents of this now inhabitable town but some stayed behind. There is much more to this story and it’s as simple as a Google search to find the rest. This town, from what I’ve read, is the basis for Silent Hill. To this day the fires still burn underneath Centralia.
My search for something truly horrifying lead me to the game Silent Hill. From there I found out that it was based on a real town that suffered from a tragic fire. It’s funny how something as small as searching for a horror fix could lead to something so interesting. Maybe I’ll try and piece together more games or movies that are based on true events. Anyone have some insight here? I’m wondering if “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” is real? If anyone has any info on this or other interesting stories on ghost towns let me know. For now, make sure to check out the Silent Hill franchise and the video I provided below on Centralia. Happy reading folks!Post Views: 155