Welcome to another episode of Within the Trenches, true stories from the 9-1-1 dispatchers who live them. Episode 188 features Brittany, Assistant Director of Fulton County out of Indiana. This was recorded at the Indiana NENA/APCO conference.
Episode topics –
- Brittany’s 9-1-1 story
- Calls that stick with you
- And more
As always if you have any comments, questions, topic suggestions or you would like to be a guest, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Ricardo — 9 years ago
I have been holding back and it’s time to let go. I have been posting on anything and everything and I am proud of what I have done but for some time now I have wanted to talk about what I do for a living. One day I will write a book about what I have been through but for now…this is the beginning. It is rather therapeutic to talk about what I have gone through and although some may frown upon what I am doing, I feel it is necessary to cope and move on.
I have been dispatching for several years now and I have heard it all. I have heard funny calls with naked males walking on stilts by the living room window of an elderly man, two drunk people pooping in driveways, and stoned out acid tripped people who see what’s not there. They are interesting and somewhat easy but along with all the funny calls are the calls no one wants to hear. The ones that cause nightmares and when the call is over all you can do is pick up the next one and move on. There is no time to cope. There is no time to pick up the pieces because the next caller needs your help as much as the previous one.
I have always compared taking a 911 call to pressing the gas pedal to the floor and letting go of the steering wheel. The calls are intense but you stick with it to the end. What’s hard is when you work in an area where you grew up. The calls are harder and you can’t tell the person you know them because it could make things worse so you grit your teeth and stay professional. I say the calls are hard because I answered when my grandmother died. My family was playing the waiting game and my partners in dispatch had arranged for me to leave once it happened. The phone rang and for some reason I hesitated. I looked at the screen and it was my mothers cell phone number. I answered and heard my cousins voice on the other end. My grandmother had passed away and I suppose it was meant to be that I would take the call. It was very hard but this is what I do. It was my duty to take the call and up until now my posts have been funny and light and I will get back to that but believe me when I say, I feel better.Post Views: 764
By Ricardo — 5 years ago
It’s interesting how we go through life meeting people, connecting and at times not realizing how one can make an impact on our lives. I have met tons of people so far in my life. Some people are single serving friends and others make an impact whether it is small or large. Sometimes the smallest impact is the one that sticks with you most.
Years ago I met someone who, at the time, made an impact on me with her kindness. It was something small but it stuck with me. I met this person at a local restaurant when I started my dispatch career in Florida. I would go to breakfast with my mom and cousin Linda almost every morning and this person was our waitress.
For this story I will refer to the waitress as Jackie. She had the brightest smile and an attitude that made you want to have a good day no matter what. We would walk in and she would greet us by name and treat us like family. She became the highlight of the day. If I was having a bad morning I knew that once I went with my family to breakfast the rest of the day would be great because Jackie would hook us up with a bowl of sunshine.
Now I’m sure many of you reading this have met someone like this in your lives at least once. When you see someone who is always there you become comfortable and sometimes when you become comfortable, things change.
“911 where is your emergency?”
– Heavy breathing from the caller –
“Hello? Are you there?”
“YES! Please help me!”
“What’s your address?”
“145 Mason st, please hurry!”
“Sir what is going on?”
“I just woke up and found my girlfriend laying on the couch. I went to wake her up and when I turned her over she was cold and blue in the face…she’s not breathing.”
I told him that we needed to start CPR and as he fumbled through his response I got the first responders and EMS enroute.
“There is nothing I can do…she’s dead,” he mumbled.
“Are you sure you don’t want to try?”
“Ok. Well, I’m going to stay on the line with you sir.”
All I could do was sit there and listen to him cry. It was hard to hear this but it was my job to be there for this person. He lost someone important to him and I put myself in his shoes for a moment. It would kill me to lose someone close to me whether it was someone who made a small or large impact in my life. I hung up when everyone arrived and sat in dispatch thinking about my caller. I felt bad for him but I kept going like I always do.
The officers returned from the scene and they had pictures. I felt compelled to look and in a weird way I felt that I would get closure from it. I asked for the pictures and my jaw dropped.
“I know her…”
It’s interesting how we go through life meeting people, connecting and at times not realizing how one can make an impact on our lives. I have met tons of people so far in my life. Some people are single serving friends and others make an impact whether it is small or large. Sometimes the smallest impact is the one that sticks with you most.Post Views: 488
By Ricardo — 2 years ago
I am excited and honored to have the 911 Training Institute as the sponsor for the month of January.
The 911 Training Institute (911TI) is founded by Jim Marshall, an accomplished licensed mental health professional, specializing in trauma exposure. In 2005, he brought his professional mental health expertise to the 911 industry. Since then, he’s trained thousands of public-safety dispatchers from police and fire agencies throughout the United States.Marshall integrates principles of psychology with the field of emergency communications to boost dispatcher resilience and help equip them to manage unique 911 stressors. He also delivers call-mastery courses that equip dispatchers to better handle calls from people experiencing a mental health crisis. This dual approach to training helps dispatchers optimize their personal health at home and professional performance at work. 911TI offers a variety of training courses to achieve this mission: Survive & Thrive Comprehensive Stress Resilience, introductory Power of Peer Support and the Certified Peer Supporter, Certified Emergency Mental Health Dispatcher, Building LifeBridges to Suicidal Callers, Peak Performance through Optimized Home Life, Peak Performance in Managing Domestic Violence Calls, and the all new, Not “Just a Dispatcher”.
911TI recognizes that dispatchers perform elite work that is psychologically and emotionally demanding; they have to have elite skills and a healthy mindset so they’re not victims of the work they do. Resilient dispatchers guided by expertly designed and delivered training can master their calls, dispatch with excellence, and take great care of themselves. That’s what 911TI is uniquely qualified to deliver. Visit our website, find us on social media, and learn more about the training programs we offer.Post Views: 347