As always if you have any comments, questions or you would like to be a guest on the show send an email to email@example.com.
Episode topics –
- Open mic – “That feels so good…”
- Open mic – “I’m willing to try…”
- 911 call – The billboard
- And much more
You Might also like
By Ricardo — 5 years ago
A while back I posted on the show’s Facebook fan page regarding dispatch stories and guest posts. Up until about a week ago I had not received anything but recently I met a fellow dispatcher who was more than willing to share her story. Her enthusiasm and love for the job led her to many years of service behind the mic as well as becoming a writer, speaker and advocate. It is my hope that this inspiring story will encourage more people in the 9-1-1 community to step forward and share their story as a guest blog post or be a guest on the show. A big thanks goes out to Kathy for sharing her story and years of service. Please comment below, share this post and if you would like to do a guest post of your story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of “Within the Trenches – Dispatch Stories.” And without further ado, the dispatch story of Kathy.
“I joined Bay Shore Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance in the very early 80’s as a dispatcher because I couldn’t have managed the time constraints of EMT school. I was already working full time, going to school full time and raising my son alone. All I could manage, I thought, was the 6-8 hours a week to volunteer as a dispatcher. Because of all the other things I was doing, I chose to be a midnight dispatcher. The dispatch system was, in hindsight, so archaic. They allowed us to dispatch from home with a portable radio and home phone ~ but with an in house crew. There wasn’t always an in house crew so my living about half an hour away from Headquarters was a problem. The “tones” would go off and I would call HQ to see who was in the house and if anyone else was responding. More often than not we (Dispatchers) didn’t even know who was on the rig until they were back at HQ after the call when and if they called me to square away times etc. My job was to listen to the portable and jot down the times as heard between my rig and Med Com (Medical Communications). Every Dispatcher was responsible for lining up an overnight crew whether they pulled duty from home or HQ. If no crew was available, we then had to call Med Com and 24 the call to a neighboring Agency. As senseless as all that seemed to me, even back then, the Dispatcher didn’t seem to be all that important to the “riding” members. That really bugged me because every chance I got I went on calls with many of them to observe. I was soon voted into the Supervisor Of Dispatch position, which at that time was an Officers position. This was even before there was a Board of Directors at most Volunteer Ambulance Companies. As Supervisor my responsibilities grew and I found myself spending an awful lot of time at HQ. Dispatching from home was no longer an option but my position was met with great resistance by Heads of other Committees because, after all, I was just a Dispatcher. What could I possibly know about what type of crew was needed for which emergency? THIS bugged me to no end. There were charges filed against me and vice versa and was something that was constantly being addressed at the Officers Meetings. Shortly thereafter the members of BSBRA formulated the differences between the Officers and what we were inducting as The Board Of Directors. This delineation was eliminating the Officers position of Supervisor of Dispatch. Not the position itself but as an Officer. After a while, the politics and egos of all the new positions was just too much drama for me. I had been having serious health issues so I resigned from Bay Shore Rescue.
When my health returned I joined Brentwood Legion Ambulance. THEY seemed to appreciate the position of Dispatcher and were interested and excited about what I could bring to their organization having been at Bay Shore. There seemed to be a lot of walk in patients HQ by members of our community where only a Dispatcher was in house. I saw that as a problem and started looking in to how we could better train Dispatchers to assist the riding members with situations such as this. I had heard about the National Academy Of Emergency Medical Dispatchers (NAEMD) based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. This certification enabled a Dispatcher to give life saving instructions over the phone to stabilize a patient while dispatching an appropriate crew depending on the color code of the call. It didn’t do much to solve the “walk in” situation but did take Dispatching to a whole other level. Now to figure out how to get this done. I had also heard that Miles Quinn from Suffolk County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services had actually taken the steps needed to have his Dispatchers Certified. I, as a Dispatcher, couldn’t seem to get an appointment with the Board of Directors to address this situation so I asked Miles Quinn if he would address our Board and explain the whole thing and all it’s possibilities. He agreed, met with the Board and the Board said they would be interested IF it didn’t cost them any money. Back in the early 90’s, the cost per Dispatcher/per 3 day course was in the mid $200 range. I saw that as a challenge. I figured out that if Brentwood actually holds the classes and books enough Dispatchers, our Dispatchers would all be trained for free. First order of business was to get a listing of ALL Agencies in the Tri State area that used Dispatchers whether paid or volunteer and do a mailing. The feedback and interest was great ~ much more than I had anticipated. It was so exciting to see that process take on a momentum all it’s own. Long story short we at BLA, at my direction, held a good 8-10 classes of maybe 50 Dispatchers each. The classes lasted three full days, I had made arrangements with a local hotel to house a block of out of town Dispatchers for a discounted rate ~ I served coffee, tea and bagels and got hundreds of Dispatchers Nationally Certified through NAEMD. The New England Journal of Emergency Medicine interviewed me for an article they were running, printing portions of the letters I sent out to the various Agencies in the Tri State area ~ most of whom were from all over the State of New York. It, very quickly, became mandatory for ALL Dispatchers to have NAEMD Certification before dispatching anywhere. I stayed with Brentwood for a while longer and then my life took yet another turn and had to resign. I kept my EMD certification for a number of years recertifying when needed.
As a result of all my involvement with EMS and having worked in several ER’s simultaneously through the years my son, who was raised while I was at Bay Shore and joined Brentwood with me, became a member in Bay Shore and eventually became one of their Chiefs. Now my oldest grandchild is joining an explorer group with Brentwood becoming third generation Whittaker volunteering for a Rescue Squad making me extremely proud of everything I have managed to do. Yes, there are MANY people who have done much more than I but it is my experience you asked me about and this pretty much sums it up. Now all these years later, I am no longer EMD certified but the status of Emergency Medical Dispatcher has forever changed and continues to go forward. I am registered with the Smart911 Pulse Point system so that if someone in my area goes into cardiac arrest I will be alerted via my smartphone and respond to the scene pending an ambulance. The position of Dispatcher, for advanced as it has become, is still (in my humble opinion) under rated. I do, however, have great faith it will continue to grow and can only hope it will, one day, get the respect it deserves! Thank you for taking an interest in my history as a Dispatcher.”Post Views: 370
By Ricardo — 1 year ago
Welcome to another episode of Within the Trenches, true stories from the 9-1-1 dispatchers who live them. Episode 187 is an Open Mic episode. This episode features funny stories and blunders from 9-1-1. This was recorded at the Indiana NENA/APCO conference.
Episode topics –
- Funny 9-1-1 stories
- Open mic blunders
As always if you have any comments, questions, topic suggestions or you would like to be a guest, send an email to email@example.comPost Views: 849
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
I’m sure you have all watched the show, “What Would You Do?” on ABC right? If not, it’s a show where people are put in situations to see if they would help out or sit back and do nothing. For example, a couple is sitting in a park and the male half is yelling at his girlfriend. She is crying and pleading for him to stop but he continues. They are both actors and in on the experiment and as they argue, some people simply pass by ignoring what is going on. Others step up and try to defuse the situation. It’s fascinating to watch how people react to the situation and how they stare but do nothing. The only time they make a move is when a group gathers to take out the bad guy. So what would you do?
I’ve asked myself this many times. As a dispatcher I receive certain certifications for my job. One of them is CPR and I have always thought about having to use it out of work. It might sound odd but when I’m in a checkout lane I think about what I would do if someone choked in front of me or passed out and needed CPR? It’s plagued my mind for a while and several months back I had my chance. I didn’t have to perform CPR but it was enough to let me know what I would do in an emergency situation out of the workplace.
It was in the evening that my family and I had decided to call for some Chinese take out. My son and I were going to order, play outside, and then go pick up the food. For some odd reason I couldn’t get a signal on my phone. I walked throughout our entire home and nothing. It simply said, “No service”. I always had at least one bar but for some reason there was nothing. I told my son to come outside with me so that I could get signal on my phone and as we walked outside I heard someone yell, “Help!”
“Did you hear that Logan?”
“Yeah, but I don’t see anyone.”
I looked around a few times and couldn’t see anyone. I heard the yell again and I looked down across the street and saw an elderly female laying in the driveway of an adult foster care (AFC) home.
“Stay right here Logan!”
I left my son at the doorway of our home and ran across the street.
“Ma’am are you ok?”
“Oh dear, where did you come from?”
“I live right across the street.”
“Oh bless you.”
“How long have you been out here?”
“I don’t know…seems like a while now.”
She was laying face down in the driveway struggling to get up.
“Ma’am are you hurt anywhere?”
“No…my legs will be bruised though.”
She laughed the situation off and tried to get up. I know that when someone is hurt you are not supposed to move them unless they are in immediate danger but she was in the driveway so I had to move her.
“Ma’am, I’m going to try and help you up. Is that ok?”
“Oh yes, that’s fine.”
I pulled her up and looked toward the entrance of the AFC home. A nurse had spotted us but she was unable to get the doors open. I noticed that the elderly lady had a gash on her forehead and was bleeding. I got one of the cloths from her bag and put firm pressure on her wound. The nurse finally came out with a wheelchair and I was instantly annoyed with her.
“Oh, now what have you done to yourself?”
“Do you know how long she’s been out here,” I asked.
“Well no. I saw the both of you out here and I rushed out to help.”
“You were unable to get the doors open though, right?”
“Well…they’re locked at this time and…well I wasn’t sure how to get them opened.”
I was pissed! Who knows how long she had been out there and since it took me a little bit to even notice her in the driveway, someone could have easily run her over. I let go of my attitude for the sake of the elderly lady and I sat her in the wheelchair.
“Let me see your face…oh…you’re like my guardian angel. You came out of no where to help me.”
“I’m glad I was able to help. My name is Ricardo.”
A few more nurses came outside to see what had happened and I asked if anyone had called 911.
“Um…no we haven’t. She should be fine though.”
I stared at them for a moment in disbelief. I mentioned where I worked and that I was going to call and they agreed that I should call. Funny how the tune changed so quickly huh? The first responders and EMS showed up fast, as well as an officer and it felt good that I was able to help. What made it even better was when I turned around to see if my son was still at the doorway. He and my wife both smiled at me. It was followed up by a nod of acknowledgement and a thumbs up from my son. I had found out that the lady had gone grocery shopping and parked on the opposite side of the building. She had been told that the doors would be locked and that she would have to walk to the other side to get in. She did this, but the weight of the bags were too much for her and she fell. What’s worse is that the doors she was headed to were locked. They mixed up the doors on her. It was a simple mistake but it could have been much worse.
In the end, I finally got my chance. I was put in a situation, out of the workplace, where I had to make a decision on whether or not to help or sit back and let someone else do something about it. There was no time to think just act, and act I did. After that incident she was to be moved to her families home. I’m not sure where that is but if you’re out there Wilma, I hope you’re doing great. God bless you…Post Views: 421