Welcome to another episode of Within the Trenches, true stories from the 9-1-1 dispatchers who live them. Episode 201 is a live audience episode and it was recorded on Mackinac Island, Michigan at the 2018 NENA/APCO conference. This is Open Mic, where we tell funny stories that come from 9-1-1. Enjoy and please share!
Episode topics –
- An April Fool’s prank on some officers
- MF has my money
- “It” is stuck in the vacuum hose
- And more
As always, if you have any comments, questions, or you would like to be a guest on the show, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Ricardo — 2 years ago
Written by –
Ryan Dedmon, M.A.
Outreach Director, 911 Training Institute
It’s raining in Southern California. Again. It has rained here 3 days a week for the last month, breaking only long enough for things to dry out before the next storm front rolls in. It has rained more in the last month than it has the last 3 years. I suppose that’s a good thing. California has long suffered from a drought, but rain makes everything more miserable.
We Californians love our sunshine and we expect the weather to be a tropical sunny and 75 all year long, so we are often ill-prepared for rainy weather. A little water falls from the sky and we all seem to forget how to drive; we navigate around countless traffic collisions and stalled out vehicles; traffic congestion, as if not already bad enough in California, becomes a living nightmare; and most of us don’t own a quality umbrella. Thus, we arrive late for work soaking wet.
Earlier this week was one such day for me. There I was stuck in heavy traffic because the intersection up ahead was on 4-way red-flash due to flooding from an apocalyptic rainstorm. My commute was taking me three times as long as it should. The car in the lane to my left pulled up next to me and I witnessed the most precious moment.
There was a 5-year-old little girl sitting in a booster in the rear passenger seat. Her little head, covered under a big yellow rain hat, kept turning back-and-forth from the window to her mother in the front seat. The girl seemed to look right through me as her face and palms were pressed up against the window. Suddenly, she spun her head around with the biggest smile on her face and was bouncing up and down in her seat as her mother rolled down the rear window. The girl immediately stuck both her arms out the window palms up, as if trying to catch the drops of water falling from the sky. I smiled at her innocence, but then she surprised me. The girl threw off her hat, showing off two brown ponytails, and stuck her entire head out the window. She giggled uncontrollably as she stuck her tongue out catching raindrops, her hair and face getting soaked in the downpour. The smile on the face of that child depicting pure elation gave me pause to think… at what point in my life did I lose that childlike innocence when I felt so much joy from simply getting wet in the rain?
I was sitting in traffic on a rainy day thinking about the conference call I would be on later that afternoon, the emails I needed to reply to in my inbox, the upcoming project deadlines I needed to meet, and my calendar availability for the following week. I don’t have time to stop and enjoy the rain. Life is busy. “Adulting” is hard.
As a former police telecommunicator, I hated the rain. Working rainy days were always the worst. The attitude of callers unexplainably reflected the gloomy weather. Callers never failed to extend their personal sense of self-entitlement. Calls for police response were either traffic collisions or false burglary alarm activations, both caused by the rainy weather. Stupid rain. The ironic part about all of this: I now teach stress-management training classes for public-safety telecommunicators helping them to optimize their health and wellness.
As we grow older and transform into adults, we fail to find joy in many of the simple things from our childhood that once brought us happiness. We get busy; we have responsibilities. Our perspective becomes distorted by noise. We need to reshape our perspective if we want to improve our wellness. Stop and make time to smell the roses, roll in fields of grass, dance in the moonlight, enjoy the simple things we often take for granted… and maybe, just maybe, then even our rainy days will bring us rays of sunshine happiness.Post Views: 363
By Ricardo — 6 years ago
The past couple weeks have been pretty crazy. A project that began as a short digital story has come to light through a Kickstarter campaign and those supporting it. The goal of Within the Trenches is to tell the stories of those who answer the call of duty through 9-1-1. The goal also covers public education in order for them to understand what goes on during a call. It will not only shed light on what we do but it will help our calls go a little smoother. As the project continued to grow and more episodes were recorded, I was able to setup some time to speak with the Holland Sentinel and WZZM 13.
When I made contact with Peg McNichol of the Holland Sentinel I had just awaken from a 12 hour shift in dispatch. I was half awake but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So I sat up in bed and did my interview. I laughed right before the interview because it definitely wasn’t the way I expected it to go but the whole interview went great! Oh, and if I didn’t mention it already, the interview was over the phone, not in bed. So, a few days later the article hit and that morning I went to the local Family Fare to get a few things for breakfast. Once again I was half awake and as I walked to the closest check-out lane I passed the front desk. I stopped and wondered if the story had been printed that morning. I walked back and there it was. My smile grew and my eyes popped open. I think I squealed like a little girl as I snagged three newspapers. The cashier gave me an odd look and I said, “I’ll take these…I’m on the front page.” The cashier looked at me like I was crazy and then looked down at the newspaper. She gave it a double take and gave me that, “I don’t believe that’s you” look. I laughed, which probably made me look like a creeper, and paid and left.
From there the media spotlight continued and a few days after that, my newly appointed co-host Whitney and I were greeted by Angela Cunningham of WZZM 13. Whitney and I sported our official Within the Trenches t-shirts and although everything went great, I was freaking out! I paced back and forth as I waited for them to get to dispatch and both Whitney and our assistant director kept telling me that everything would be just fine. They were right and you probably can’t tell from the video but I was sweating and nervous. Since then the show has blown up. The media spotlight has been great and it’s only the beginning. Recently I created an event on Facebook for Within the Trenches as an open invitation to all 9-1-1 dispatchers to appear on an episode. We started out with just a few and now we have people from all over the United States and different countries that want to take part in the show. I will provide the link to our fan page, event, and the media coverage. It’s time that the unsung hero’s of emergency services get the spotlight they deserve. Thank you for all you do and I recommend that everyone listen to the show. You will learn a lot and you might even be better prepared if you ever have to call 9-1-1.Post Views: 246
By Ricardo — 6 years ago
Ever since Within the Trenches was funded through Kickstarter there have been several niche Facebook pages that have helped in spreading the word on the show. One of those pages is The Cool Kids of 9-1-1. The people who run this page are also involved in many different aspects of the 9-1-1 profession. One of those aspects is a mini conference or “Mini-C” and it’s that time again folks! The South Florida 9-1-1 Dispatchers “Mini-C” has returned and is now in its fourth year. This mini-conference and precursor to National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week will take place on April 1 – 5 at the Boca Raton Police/Fire/9-1-1 Training Center 6500 Congress Avenue –Auditorium– Boca Raton FL 33487. The “Mini-C” will include classes that range from crimes in progress, active shooters and 9-1-1 risk management.
According to their official flier, the conference is “uniquely funded so that Attendee Cost is $0.00 FREE for all 9-1-1 Professionals who work in Palm Beach County! *Registration required before March 15th 2013*” Now, just because this is being held in Florida, doesn’t mean that you can’t attend. The flier goes on to say that, “Outside-the-County 9-1-1 Professionals and invited guests may register their interest now to be considered on an available-space basis. These registrations will have attendance confirmed by email on March 18th 2013 (2 week notice] So if you want to take part in this conference you need to get cracking folks! For more information on the Mini-C and The Cool Kids of 9-1-1 follow the links below.
Mini-C | Details PDFPost Views: 230