Welcome to another episode of Within the Trenches, true stories from the 9-1-1 dispatchers who live them. Episode 205 is a look back at the last few months of my dispatch career and the calls I took. I recently celebrated my 5 year anniversary of my last day. It’s an episode you don’t want to miss along with a few announcements.
Episode topics –
- Back from vacation
- A look back at the last few months of my dispatch career
- Suicide call – The soon to be ex
- Suicide call – I tried to call you the day you ran your car into a tree
- Medical – Spanish translation
- 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 — 6 years ago
During the week of 12/13/2012 I was sketching in a notebook. I had a lot going on during that time. I was well into my Masters program, studying, working in dispatch and trying my hardest to be a good father and husband. As I continued to sketch I began to reflect on a new project I was working on. The project was a new podcast named after a written segment on my blog. I was nervous about launching my Kickstarter campaign. What if I couldn’t make my goal? What if it was only something I thought was a good idea? I continued to sketch and think. My co-worker Whitney walked into the room I was in and I asked her what she thought.
“I like it but the symbol makes it look like angry eyebrows.”
She handed me some reports I had printed out and we both laughed as she walked back out of the room. I stared at my sketch for a while. Finally, I added “9-1-1” to the upper right part of the vital sign. I called Whitney again and she told me that it looked good. The sketch was the logo for Within the Trenches. Although I was nervous as hell I was determined to make this project a reality. A few days after completing the logo I launched my Kickstarter campaign on 12/13/2012.
I went through a lot during that time. Planning a campaign is no easy task and promoting it is even bigger than the planning stage. Once it’s out there you have to make sure it remains in the public eye without spamming. The campaign started out strong but hit a snag. With 8 days left I had only reached $330 of the $1,500 needed to fund my campaign. I continued to promote and on January 3 2013 episode one of the podcast was broadcast live on Ustream. The episode was a hit! More pledges came in and with 36 hours left in the campaign I had received $660. I was scared. I felt like I wasn’t going to make it.
With those 36 hours left I sent an email to Gary Allen of Dispatch Monthly. I told him I wasn’t looking for money, just help with spreading the word. He helped me out and in 24 of the 36 hours left in the campaign I surpassed my goal. I remember sitting in the living room with my daughter Lola as she ate lunch. I kept refreshing the page to see if I had made it. I received a text message from my good friend and co-worker Trista that read,
“I just bought a shirt. Congrats!”
After a huge pledge from my now employer, the shirt pledge/reward was worth $25 and that was all I needed to hit the goal. I refreshed one last time and sure enough Trista’s pledge put me over. I jumped in the air with my arms up and yelled, “Woo!” as I hit the ceiling. Lola threw her arms up as well and laughed. I went to work a few hours after that for the second episode of the show and I was greeted by my co-workers with a grand applause. I was smiling from ear to ear and I remember trying to hold back my emotions because I wanted to cry from being so happy. That moment of triumph was great!
It’s been just over a year since I launched my Kickstarter campaign. 2013 was a big year for me. The show blew up and continues to grow. I spoke at Michigan’s NENA conference, made an appearance at the Mini-C conference in Boca Raton, Florida, brought the show to NENA’s National conference, recorded a part in a documentary that features hotlines and call takers in all types of jobs, recorded a segment for A&E’s Panic 9-1-1 and landed an amazing job working on the other side of 9-1-1.
Between Whitney and I, we have interviewed dispatchers from all over the United States and areas such as Australia, Canada and Ireland. It’s been an amazing year and I know that 2014 will be even bigger. I’m grateful for the support and continued support you have given me throughout this adventure. It means a lot to me. The show will continue to tell dispatch stories from those who have lived them. We are also going to educate the emergency services community as well as the public. With Google+ Hangouts serving as an open forum of 9-1-1 professionals we are going to grow and expand.
If you take anything from my experience this last year it is this, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” Thanks Doc Brown. Your words have always stuck with me. Well…you’re a character in Back to the Future and I love the movie so…well anyway, the quote is true. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Just grit your teeth and work hard for what you want. I’m living proof. Hmm…I think I just wrote the last page of my book. Anyway, here’s to a new year, cheers!
(Make sure to comment below and if you want to be on the show email us at email@example.com)Post Views: 313
By Ricardo — 5 years ago
Good morning and welcome to episode 78 of Within the Trenches. It has been a while since episode 77 but I am back with a long list of guests. In my last episode I revisited some of my personal dispatch stories. If you haven’t listened to it you need to check it out. I will be recording more of my personal stories soon. I also mentioned that the new Indiana NENA website was up and registration is open for the 2015 conference so make sure to sign up. The website address is innena.org. Check them out, register and look for the show on their site. All the episodes recorded from last year’s conference are located there.
With that said today’s episode is going to be a good one. My guest today is Joanne, a dispatcher with the New Hampshire State Police and one of the admins for 911 Operator’s Peer Support Page on Facebook.
As always, if you would like to be a guest on the show or if you have any questions, email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org
911 Operator’s Peer Support Page – Facebook
Indiana Chapter of NENA – Web
INNENA Within the Trenches Page – Web
Episode topics –
Post Views: 528
- How Joanne started in 911
- Inspiration for 911 Operator’s Peer Support Page on Facebook
- Calls that stick with you
- And more…
By Ricardo — 2 years ago
In any field of work you are always learning something new. This is even more true when it comes to being a 9-1-1 dispatcher. It’s one of the things that pulled me in when I first started back in 2001. I’m one of those people who get bored very easily. For example, if I’m reading an article it has to draw me in during the first paragraph or I am on to the next one. Naturally, work is the same way. So when I first started, the thought of helping others and coming into a job that wasn’t going to be the same everyday appealed to me.
My training at the beginning was minimal at best. I watched my trainer take a 9-1-1 call and then it was my turn. I was floored and thought he was joking but he was dead serious. Luckily, my first 9-1-1 call was an accident. I mean, the person who called, called on accident. It wasn’t a vehicle accident. From there I took a beginner 40-hour training course. We learned a lot, but it wasn’t focused on suicidal callers or active shooters, hell it wasn’t even on stress management and in reality, what the hell was stress management? It wasn’t a topic that I remember being mentioned when I first started.
You learn as you go and sometimes that is the best training. Nothing is the same, well, except for the call types, but one can almost guarantee that even though the call type is the same, the situation will be completely different. Again, you learn something new every day. As you continue to work you continue to train, but focused training is needed. It wasn’t until I started working for a much larger agency that I was able to experience focused training. It was then that I learned how to handle workplace negativity, leadership, stress management, active shooters and suicidal callers.
The classes were few and far between during my last 8 years in dispatch but it made me a better dispatcher. It provided the tools I needed to stay at the top of my game. If you can, I recommend seeking out training courses that will help you throughout your career. I know it seems easier said than done. I know that not all of you or your agencies can send you to any class you want because of money or being short staffed but you can search the Internet for different types of training or courses that offer premium content at an affordable price. Had I thought about it back when I was dispatching I would have taken more training courses.
One of the things I want to start doing to sharing information on training companies out there that focus on the topics that I have mentioned in this article. The first is Kim Turner, LLC. Kim is the current Communications Manager at San Bernardino out of California. She lives and breathes dispatch. She has worked on both sides of the radio and her team of elite trainers bring a new look at dispatch training for the next generation of 9-1-1. It is important to continue learning in the field of 9-1-1 dispatch. It has evolved from being a dispatcher to an emergency communications specialist.
For more information on continuing education with Kim Turner, LLC please visit the links below along with some descriptions on courses this company offers.
Dispatch Active Shooter Situations is a dynamic training class and the only one of its kind that blends the role of dispatchers in communications with the perspective of field personnel responding to the incident. This class explores the role of tactical communications to better prepare dispatchers to handle phone calls, manage radio traffic, and coordinate responding resources, as well as a resiliency component to help them after handling the traumatic incident. Facilitated by a SWAT Team Leader and Tactical Dispatch Team Leader this course sets the standard for dispatch operations.
Police and fire dispatchers handle various types of critical incidents. Natural disasters, criminal, and non-criminal incidents of a high priority can have dramatic impacts on dispatch operations. This class examines different critical incidents and the working partnerships between dispatchers and field-responders to best optimize response and handling of these events. What sets us apart is our ability to bridge the gap between the field and dispatch.
Stress Management for Supervisors and Managers
Communication supervisors and managers experience stress like their front-line employees. However, their stressors are uniquely related to their position as a leader. This is the only class in California specifically designed to equip supervisors and managers with leadership tools to resolve personnel conflict and develop resiliency for themselves and their employees.
Trauma Exposure and Management
The chronic stress of being exposed to traumatic incidents can have a heavy toll on the work performance and personal health of public-safety dispatchers. This class dives deeper into the psychology of trauma to give dispatchers a better understanding and help them become resilient, both individually and as an organization.Post Views: 293