Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nine Years At 9-1-1

Seems like just a short time ago I entered into a dispatch center, completely oblivious to the lingo and protocols. Nine years later I'm still learning.

I've made it nine years through calls of dire emergencies and outrageous circumstances. It's a job of stress, pressure, and patience. And it's a job I foresee staying in for many years to come.

As I embrace my 9 year anniversary as a 9-1-1 Telecommunicator, I'd like to share with you some tips and advice for if and when the time comes you need to call. I can't speak for every agency out there, but here's a few general tips for the public:

1. When you call 9-1-1 be prepared to give information. I don't ask questions to be nosey; I ask because it's pertinent. I relay that information to the responding agency. An ambulance needs to know what equipment they need to have on hand or whether they need to run lights and sirens. A police officer needs to know if they're entering a situation where weapons are involved. And I need to know who exactly to send. So, please, don't give me grief. Just answer the questions and things will go smoother. Help ME help YOU.

2. "Just Get Them Here Now" doesn't get them there any quicker. I'll send a unit as soon as possible but we're fresh out of magic carpets so it may take a couple of minutes.

3. I am not a lawyer or a doctor. I can only send the appropriate units. I cannot give medical or legal advice.

4. I send out police, sheriff, ambulance, animal control, and fire units. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm not the electric company and cannot restore your power. I also can't tell you how to properly set up your phone. Please call the proper agencies or at least understand when I tell you I don't have magic buttons under my desk to fix your leaks, power outages, or broken cell phones.

5. Don't automatically assume I know where you're at. In this day and age, I can get a good range of your location. But sometimes technology isn't on my side and all the guesses in the world won't find you. If you call 9-1-1 for an emergency, please at least blurt out the address so we can dispatch in a timely manner.

6. Don't call me just to complain or to let me know how much you resent me. Yes, there are people that call 9-1-1 to air their grievances or hates which, in turn, tie up the lines for real emergencies. One subject in particular went to jail for a lengthy time because he'd call us no less than 40 times a week to let us know how much he hated us and the world. I can't keep you from hating us or other agencies and I won't try to change your mind, but there's other avenues besides 9-1-1 for that.

7. Appreciate life and your loved ones. I can't stress enough how quickly tides can turn. Hearing cries of those who have witnessed someone die or hearing about a fatal wreck on the radio makes me stop and think, and appreciate the time I have here on earth. You never know when a tragic event can happen. Don't take your time on earth for granted.

8. Don't be afraid to call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency. That's what we're here for. Although it's a thankless job, I enjoy helping others and knowing that maybe, just maybe, I helped them through a crisis.


Masshole Mommy said...

Congrats on 9 years! That's a major accomplishment. I never really thought about how hard it must be for you guys, but there are some pretty ignorant people out there, so nothing should surprise me.

Adaptable Kay said...

Congratulations on your 9 year anniversary! Honestly, not many people could do what you're doing and even though it's a thankless job, I thank you for doing it!

It's that little thought that you might be helping someone, somewhere through a tough time that probably makes things worth it :)

Theresa Mahoney said...

Congratulations on your 9 years! I seriously could never do that. I am too emotional and would probably either scream back at someone or start crying along with them.

Thank you for your service. You are just as important as the people who are called to help!

An Apel a Day said...

Such great advice! So far I've never had to call 911 personally. I have had to rush my boys to the hospital. One had a staph infection, one had meningitis, and one had a dislocated elbow.