Ep 137 features Ethan, a dispatcher out of NC & Within the Trenches Continuing Education Scholarship Recipient & Daphanie, dispatcher and past guest out of FL and she is also one of the Within the Trenches Podcast Facebook Page Admins. In this episode we follow Ethan’s journey into medical dispatching as well as stories from his career. As a first timer to the IAED’s NAVIGATOR conference he touches on his experience and Daphanie lends some insight on the conference, networking and a few of her personal 9-1-1 stories.
This is a must listen so please check it out and share it. To learn more about the IAED follow the links below. As always if you have any comments, questions or you would like to be a guest on the show, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Episode topics –
- Ethan’s 9-1-1 story
- 9-1-1 calls
- NAVIGATOR conference experience
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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: 1,100
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: 354
July 3, 1971. Pamela Courson reportedly finds her beloved Jim Morrison dead in a bathtub. Jim is lead singer for The Doors and just one of three great artists during that era of music who died at the age of 27. The artists include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and of course, Jim Morrison. It is said that he died of a heart attack brought on by hard drinking. Others say it was a heroin overdose but like Hendrix, it’s possible that he could have been saved. Both artists were in need of immediate medical attention, however, in both instances a manager was called first. It wasn’t until some time later that authorities were contacted.
What would the world be like if Morrison had lived? I think a few more albums would have come out. I’m sure they would have been epic. The Doors would still be playing shows and I would have the chance to see them live. People say that Morrison was odd, vulgar, and even strange. He was known as reckless but creative. I believe he was simply not afraid to be different and would rather be himself. In his own words, “Where’s your will to be weird?” Here’s to the Lizard King. May you rest in peace Jim.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
– Jim MorrisonPost Views: 545