Ep 153 of Within the Trenches features Todd Sparrow, Director at Lawrenceburg 9-1-1 in Kentucky. In this episode Todd reflects on 35 years of public safety service, calls that have stuck with him, the Kentucky Emergency Services Conference and more. For more information on the conference please see 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 –
- Todd’s 9-1-1 story
- A domestic call at 16 years of age
- Kentucky Emergency Services Conference
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By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Motivation. Are we always motivated? Do we experience motivation by sheer will or do we require a reason to do something to create that motivation for us? How about this, what is motivation? By definition it stands for,
- The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
- The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
So how many of you experience this by sheer will? I can honestly say that I don’t always experience this. Sometimes it takes something big or urgent for me to experience the motivation needed to accomplish my immediate goals. I’m sure everyone has dealt with this at one time or another and we deal with it as it occurs. So what if you were motivated by force? I’m thinking that this would be the best type of motivation to get your ass in gear to accomplish your goals. If I had to make a choice on what scenario I would like to experience in reference to forced motivation, I would choose it by way of Tyler Durden? Do you know Mr. Durden? Have you ever watched the movie, “Fight Club”? If you have not seen it then you need to buy or rent this movie. I highly recommend it. I would like to tell you about the movie but I might reveal too much. Instead, I will give you the synopsis I found on IMDb,
“An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression.”
The synopsis is short and to the point but once you get into the movie, you’ll realize that there is something more going on between the main characters. In Fight Club the male characters are given an adult playground where they take part in bare knuckle brawling. It’s a way of venting aggression and eventually the club moves out of the basement and onto the streets where the characters are involved in different assignments. For example, one assignment deals with starting a fight with someone and losing. Tyler Durden, the leader of the group, breaks them down in a way where they can be free and do away with what may be holding them back. Another assignment within the movie makes me think a lot. The assignment is called, “Human Sacrifice”. This scene shows the forced motivation I have been talking about.
The video above shows Tyler Durden threatening a store clerk with a gun. He talks to him about what he wanted to be and his current state. He tells him that he is going to keep his license and if he is not on his way to becoming a veterinarian within six weeks, he will be dead. To me this is perfect example of what I see as forced motivation. There is a little more to the scene though. Tyler actually gives a line or two of information that brings this assignment all together. It’s what makes me think the most. The following is the dialog at the end of the scene.
Tyler Durden: Run Forrest, run!
Narrator: I feel ill.
Tyler Durden: Imagine how he feels.
Narrator: Common, this isn’t funny! That wasn’t funny. What the fuck was the point of that?!
Tyler Durden: Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.
Voice-over: You had to give it to him. He had a plan. And it started to make sense in a Tyler sort of way. No fear, no distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.[Tyler throws gun to Narrator who opens the barrel to find no bullets inside.]
Think about what happened in the video for a moment. Picture yourself in Raymond’s situation, on your knees facing the opposite direction of your assailant and scared for your life. Your previous goals are brought to light and you face the fact that you stopped what was once your dream. You have a few moments to think about your life and how you wish you had done more or simply had a second chance. You feel the gun pressing against your head and as you tremble your assailant gives you a second chance to accomplish your goals. In the beginning you may have had obstacles holding you back from your specific goal or maybe you were just unmotivated, but now nothing will hold you back. You have been given six weeks to jump start your life or you will be killed. Forced motivation is crazy is it not? Think about how the next day would be. The second to last part of dialog by Tyler is very true. Every time I see this movie I think about how I would feel the next day. I would wake up with renewed motivation. My breakfast would taste better and it would indeed be the most beautiful day because I would be alive.
This is the type of motivation and determination I would like to have all the time. How can this be done? How can one feel this sense of forced motivation? I’m thinking the “human sacrifice” would actually have to happen in order to experience this. For me though, I would want to keep my goals in mind as much as possible to try and replicate the motivational aspect of the scenario. I know what you’re thinking. This whole thing sounds odd but really think about the entire situation. Wouldn’t you be motivated and determined to do your best? I know I would be if someone told me that I would be dead in six weeks if I wasn’t on my way to becoming what I wanted to be. So what would you do? What if you were in the same position as Raymond K. Hessel? Do you think this situation would be helpful or is it pointless? Let me know what you think. As I have stated before, this type of motivation is something that would get me off my ass in order to plow through all obstacles to accomplish my goals. In all reality it’s really up to me but if I had the choice it would be by way of Tyler Durden.Post Views: 456
By Ricardo — 4 years ago
I am a firm believer that every person we meet, we meet for a reason. Whether it is good or bad, a blessing or a lesson, there is a reason. A few years ago I reached out to someone who would help shape the rest of my career. Although the good deed was small it changed everything and made a big impact on my life.
When I was in the last part of my dispatch career I was working on my Masters in New Media Journalism. At this time I was writing heavily and posting all kinds of personal dispatch stories to my blog. It had become pretty popular with those in the 9-1-1 community as well as the general public. People were learning and I was loving it but I felt like something was missing, I felt like I could do more. As I was riding on the popularity of my written version of Within the Trenches I was introduced to podcasting through an assignment in school. I fell in love with it and started a public safety series doing stories with dispatch, police and EMS.
From there I decided to turn my written segment into a podcast but it was going to take a little help from Kickstarter. My goal for this Kickstarter campaign was $1,500. It would pay for equipment, hosting and more. I was going strong with $606 early on but my campaign stalled and I was sure I would not make it. I had 36 hours left and I was freaking out. I was reading some 9-1-1 industry news at 9-1-1 Dispatch Magazine Online and decided I would reach out to the editor for help. I told Gary Allen that I wasn’t looking for money from him. All I wanted was help getting the word out on my project. Later on that day I received a response from him saying that he loved the idea of a dispatch podcast and telling dispatch stories. He wrote up a small blurb on what I was doing and also reached out to some industry partners. In 24 hours I surpassed my campaign goal.
I can safely say that if it wasn’t for Gary’s help I probably would not have made it. On top of that I recently found out that one of the industry partners he reached out to was my now boss and founder of INdigital, a public safety solutions company. I thought my boss simply found me by the article that Gary put out but Gary reached out to him. It’s awesome how things work out sometimes. Sadly, Gary recently passed away. He had 40 years of public safety background and my only regret is not having more of an opportunity to have him on the podcast to tell his complete story. I did get a chance to have him on an episode with me and it is included within this episode. We were experimenting with Google+ Hangouts Live so the audio sounds a little different but it is a good one nonetheless. Also towards the end there is about a minutes worth of music. The show doesn’t end though, I was showing Gary a video and all you can hear is the music. So just in case you listen and wonder what is going on. Below you will find a link to the video version of episode 45 with Gary Allen. I hope you enjoy the episode and please share it.
As always if you have any questions or you would like to be a guest on the show you can email me at email@example.com
I will be forever grateful to you. Your help made a huge impact on my life. I hope I am able to leave a mark on this industry the way you did. Godspeed my friend.
RicardoPost Views: 381
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: 375