On August 24th, 2016 I inserted myself into the battle for reclassification. I wanted to prove how different 9-1-1 dispatchers were from clerical workers and commercial dispatchers by sharing anonymous stories from the Thin Gold Line. You answered the call to action by sharing all over the world and with a mere glimpse into a call you opened the eyes of millions. You gave a raw look into dispatch like no one has ever done before. You changed the media, the general public, Industry Partners and those out in the field. You are a vital piece of public safety and you gained massive recognition. I am so proud of each and every one of you and honored to know so many of you.
A month after the movement was born, a companion called Project #IAM911 was launched revealing the faces that make up the movement. The intent was to humanize the voice within the trenches. Hundreds of dispatchers sent in pictures with #IAM911 on their hands and signs revealing who they are and that they are human. Imagine Listening followed as an extension to the podcast sharing the stories that have been submitted for the movement saying that, “Your worst day is our everyday.” The #IAM911 movement continues to grow, stories are posted daily and as we approach the 2nd anniversary, the day we let the world know who we are and what we do, the movement will continue with a segment in the form of #IAM911 #ThisIsMe.
What I am looking for this time is a picture of you in dispatch or in every day life. I want you to share a glimpse into your dispatch experience, good or bad. Give me your honest, raw, look at what it has been like for you. Pictures have been posted as examples. Just remember to use #IAM911 #ThisIsMe. If you would like to do a team photo and share a glimpse into a team experience then please use #IAM911 #ThisIsUs. Let’s continue to show the world who we are and what we do. Let’s show them that when they hurt, we hurt. We are human and this is us.
Here’s to the coming anniversary. #IAM911 #ThisIsMe #ThisIsUs
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By Ricardo — 2 years agoI feel good. I feel very good. Better than I have in a year and a half. As you all know I have been battling a back issue along with extreme shoulder pain and a stiff neck. It has caused problems like you wouldn’t believe. I just wanted to feel better and so, I started working on it. My doctor couldn’t tell me what was wrong and really didn’t look much into it but through some research, friendly conversation and more research I was able to figure it out and I’m on my way to recovery.How it all started…About a year and a half ago I was at work and suffered a dizzy spell. Now, I have had dizzy spells before from getting up too fast but I was standing and speaking to someone. When I went to move everything started to spin. It was horrible and I almost passed out. That weird feeling continued for a few weeks until I finally got a chance to see my doctor. The first visit lasted about ten minutes. My symptoms were a feeling of being off balance, stiff neck, shoulders, back and joint pain as well as extreme exhaustion. This was daily. My doctor told me to start taking my high blood pressure medication again. So I did…and it was horrible. The main side-effect? A dry cough and mine was crazy. Months passed but my health continued to spiral down.The daily pain was unbearable but no one could tell me what was wrong. I had blood work done, a urine test, and neurological tests because of the odd headaches caused by the tension in my neck and nothing relieved it. I was drinking more than usual because at night, I couldn’t relax due to the pain. It sucked and I travel a lot for work so at the end of the night when all my work was done and I no longer had to hide the pain I was dealing with I would relax with a cold beer. It worked but I was tired of feeling like shit. And feeling like shit daily is hard to keep up with. After a while it takes a toll. My body was breaking down and I didn’t know why.A conversation and a changeAfter almost a year of constant daily pain, not knowing what was wrong, seeing a chiropractor every other day as well as seeing my family doctor and being sent to physical therapy I had had enough. I needed to change something and I thought, “maybe it has to do with something I’m doing that is causing this?” The first thing I did was stop drinking. Within that first week my back started feeling better. I still felt like shit but not as much as before. I started doing yoga every morning. The constant stretching of my body helped out with the stiff neck, shoulders and back. My legs were getting stretched out and it was helping. I continued this but every so often I felt like crap. What was left to change?I remember a conversation with a friend and co-worker of mine and he mentioned “candida.” What the fuck is that? I know, a rough way to ask but that’s exactly what I asked when I heard this. I didn’t believe it at first but as I continued to go back and forth with my health I started to believe it more and more and I did a lot of research. As you all know I am no doctor and I do not claim to be one. Plus, my own doctor has not diagnosed this. I had to try it for myself first. Candida, according to Wikipedia is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It does not proliferate outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40-60% of healthy adults. Weird right?Apparently it is more common then people would believe and everyone has it and at normal levels it’s fine but when it grows out of control it can be problematic. So when I quit drinking it helped significantly because what is one of the main ingredients in beer? Yeast. Yep, I was feeding this candida shit and it was growing out of control. But I still didn’t feel great and my aches and pains were still bothering me. So what next? I researched further on this candida crap and there is a diet, an anti-candida diet. There are many pages dedicated to this diet and it’s crazy. I say it’s crazy only because I have never done anything like this but like I said before, I was tired of feeling like shit and I needed to change.The diet consists of cutting out all fruit, all grains, all sugar and because I’m lactose intolerant, no dairy. Sugar and grains feed candida so the concept is starving it by cutting out what feeds it. Make sense? I understand it but I still think it’s crazy. All I can eat is meat and veggies. Which is good because I love meat and veggies but I can’t eat vegtables that are high in starch and I can’t eat mushrooms. I love mushrooms but it is a fungus and so is candida so it would be feeding it. Sad face! The first couple of days on this diet was hell! Quitting sugar is what I think quitting heroine would be like. I know that seems extreme but believe me when I say that it was very tough! I was craving sweets like you wouldn’t believe and that is definitely something because I’m not a sweets person when it comes to candy, cakes and such. It was more of the pop I was drinking. I was not a fun person and I was getting ready to travel for a conference too. It blew but something changed.Road to recoveryAfter a week out of state for work at a conference where I would normally eat whatever I wanted I changed, rather, my body changed. My symptoms have mostly died off. I get flare ups every now and then but they are few and I can actually take a deep breath now. Before I felt like I had something blocking me from taking a deep breath. I used to be bloated and everything would cause gas. I was uncomfortable all the time and constantly taking meds for gas and acid reflux but now, it’s gone. Back pain? Gone. Shoulder and neck pain? Stiff on occasion but nothing like I was dealing with for the last year and a half. It makes me want to cry at the thought of how it was before compared to how I feel now.I was pretty much killing myself through my diet. My body started to break down and it forced me to slow down. I needed to change something and I did. Again, I’m only two weeks into this month long diet to reset my stomach and restore my gut health but I’m feeling great. Sure…I would love a cheese burger and an ice cold coke or beer but instead it would be a deconstructed burger where there is no bun, no ketchup or mustard or cheese or pickles, just meat and onions with an ice cold glass of water. Not appealing I know but it’s for my health and mental well being. Once this month is over I can slowly introduce fruit and grains back in but slowly and eventually I can take on a burger but if I get used to this I might just stick with it. I enjoy feeling good.Survive & Thrive Fit ChallengeThis is my story and the reason why I jumped at the opportunity to do this with Jim and Ryan. My change was well on its way but I didn’t realize what I had until I was deep into this challenge. The three of us were dealing with our own issues and we thought, “if we are dealing with shit then maybe others in the industry are too.” We wanted to inspire people to do better for themselves. In this industry we do for everyone else and never think of US. With this challenge we are doing for US while pushing each other to be healthy and do what’s best for our individual situations. Now that you know my story I would love to read yours. If you would like to share you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you have joined the Survive & Thrive Fit Challenge group on Facebook then please post it there. I’m on my road to recovery and I am honored to share this journey with all of you.Post Views: 240
By Ricardo — 3 years ago
Get your one of a kind “Heroes in a headset” t-shirt that doubles as a homage to the four half-shelled heroes from your childhood. Whether you are old school or new school you will dig this design.It’s not sold in stores and accept no substitutes. Remember that in order to receive your shirt we must hit the goal or the t-shirt will not be made.
https://teespring.com/heroes-in-a-headset#pid=369&cid=6512&sid=frontPost Views: 461
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
For this entry I would like to talk about a call I took that rocked me to my core. When I think back it still gives me goosebumps. This situation was enough for me to write a memoir on it for a class I had several months ago. The memoir was suppose to be about something that occurred in my life that made me change something. I wrote about growing up with my siblings and thinking that nothing could ever break us apart. My brother and I were close but I somewhat took him for granted because I felt he would always be there. It took one extreme moment to finally make me realize that at any moment a loved one can be stripped away from you. Cherish the time that you have because you never know when it will end. The following is an excerpt from my memoir and I cut it as short as possible because it is six pages long. The names in the memoir other than my own and my brother are made up as well as the address. No identities are revealed here what so ever.
“9-1-1 where’s your emergency?”
This is something I asked every day and you always know when you are going to have a bad call. I say this because as soon as you pick up the phone you hear the screams. They are the screams of a horror movie except this horror is real. This call was no different and I immediately heard what I thought were two women screaming.
“Ma’am? Hello? Ma’am can you hear me?”
The screaming continued, the camel hair on the back of my neck stood at attention. My co-worker to the right looked toward me and I shook my head not knowing what was going on.
“Ma’am can you hear me?”
When a caller is screaming hysterically, secondary voices are just background. It takes a little longer to get through but you do the best you can. The screams of heartache and tragedy continued. I brought my voice down to a whisper to almost trick the caller into thinking there was no one there.
“Ma’am can you hear me?”
“Hello?! Is someone there?”
“Yes”, I answered with authority. “What’s your address?”
She stumbled over her words as the person in the background continued to scream. I could hear stuff being thrown around and I thought it was a domestic call.
“4357 Madison Dr.”, she blurted, trying to hold back from a melt down.
She continued with her name and phone number and the screams were growing. Something else had happened here but the caller was hard to understand. The police were already on their way and I was first in line to figure out what happened.
“Ma’am? I need to know what is going on.”
“I can’t believe he did it,” yelled a person in the background.
The screams turned into rage and the voice in the background sounded more and more like a male.
“Julie what’s going on? Who else is there?”
“It’s just me and my fiancé.”
“Who was screaming in the background? I thought there was another girl there with you?”
“No, that was him.”
“Why were you screaming? The police are on their way but you need to tell me what is going on.”
“Well my fiancé John, his brother Mike, and I were at the bar. Mike just got out of a relationship and he’s been depressed for the past week now. He kept telling us that he…that he…”
“That he was going to do what Julie?”
“That he was going to kill himself and we brushed it off.”
I frantically typed as she spoke and officers were almost there. One of my co-workers had already sent EMS to stage in the area until we knew for sure what was going on. My body was hot and sweat began to build between my ear and the phone.
“Then what happened?”
“We…we got home and he started saying it again. John went and got a shotgun, and told him that if he was going to do it to go ahead. He didn’t think he was going to do it but he shot himself in the head.”
I gasped and held my breath for a moment. I fell into their shoes and the thought of losing my younger brother swarmed my senses. Thinking that he would always be there was just me lying to myself. Tragedy could strike at any moment and I was currently listening to a grown man scream for his brother.
“Where is John now? Where’s the gun?”
“I don’t know? I think he went…Oh my god!”
“What’s going on Julie?!”
“John’s got the gun, he’s got it!”
For a moment I thought I would hear a gunshot. He yelled and screamed that it was his fault and that he did not think his brother would do it. I could feel his pain and I thought of my brother.
“Go to a different room Julie! Get away from him!”
“He just put it back down and went back outside…I’ll put it away.”
The police arrived and Julie broke down. The adrenaline was slipping away and she was no longer the strong one. She broke just as John did and I felt their pain within me. The call lasted less than six minutes but when taking a phone call like this, it’s a lifetime.
Afterward, I only thought of my brother. I thought about how I treated him and how I thought he would always be there. Nothing could tear us apart but after taking this call I realized that it could easily end before either of us knew it. When my shift ended I called my brother. It was very early in the morning but I had to speak to him.
“Rich? What’s wrong man?”
“I love you dude.”
“What? I love you too.”
“No man, I’m serious.”
I told him about my call. I told him that it killed me inside to think that I could lose him as fast as the people that dealt with their own loss. It finally made sense to me and it took a tragedy for me to come to this conclusion. It’s funny how it takes something extreme for one to realize the truth but maybe that is what we need; a swift kick in the ass to jump start the senses and the mind. After I told my brother about the call he understood why I needed to speak to him so bad. He replied with,
“I love you man.”Post Views: 962