I've been up all night thanks to not feeling all that great. I've been entertaining myself by playing on a few websites I haunt and reading random blogs. It got me thinking (the blogs that is).
We all have them, sometimes we love them, sometimes we hate them. I'm sure the feelings are mutual.
I happen to be close to 2 dispatchers, one is like a father to me, the other, a best friend and nearly sister.
My other dad is a great dispatcher, loved by all. He is one of the senior guys at 911 and can handle anything thrown at him. He is also a FTO and is trying to make supervisor. I can recognize him on the air both by his voice, and his little quirks. I've been to his house, hung out with his family, and been mugged by his dogs (I have pictures to prove it). His daughter called me "sis" the first time we met (she's around my age). I've exchanged god knows how many messages on the computer when we both had time to be bored, even if only for a moment.
My best friend is also a FTO and from everything I can tell, a great dispatcher. You see, we don't work for the same department. I've spoken with people that do work with her and they love the job she does. She is my partner in crime, especially when shopping for birthday gifts. We've been the shoulder to cry on about calls or whatever, and the ear that listens when you need to vent about work.
Both of these people I love to death and am proud to say I'd work with them in my ear any day.
BUT...There are so many more out there!
A couple years ago, the partner and I checked out on a 911 hangup call. Long story short, I'm sure I gave the dispatcher a heartattack when I had to yell (yes, yell) for help. We were in a fight and there was also a pit bull attacking us.
"Rescue X, radio...We're in a fight, there's a dog, I need PD 10-18!"
She paused, but was calm, cool, and collected in her response. I could hear the urgency escaping her when my chief and a few other nearby units called her requesting our last known location. I hope she gave the city that was handling the PD response a good ass-chewing later. They were supposedly dispatched when we were, and we had to drive past their precinct to get to the call.
A couple months ago when I totalled my car, I'm sure I gave another a little heart-attack.
"ABC 911, what's the exact location of your emergency?"
"Radio, I'm an offduty ABC firefighter, been involved in a 41I (accident w/injuries) at "Maindrag" and "Cross-street". I'm in a (car description here) and was hit by a (other car description here). I had Engine X on -21 (phone) with me when it happened and they're already enroute, I need PD."
"What's your name and #?"
I'm glad I had a good idea what info she would need, and I still believe I gave it to her in a decent manner. You bet your ass I was excited, but I wasn't too fast because I didn't have to repeat anything or answer any further questions. Maybe it's from dealing with crazy stuff onduty I was able to control myself enough to do what needed to be done.
I had a double-whammy on that one though. My other dad was on fire/ems dispatch and he had to dispatch the call. My phone went nuts. As soon as I was done with the police officer and everything on the scene, I was loaded into the ambulance. I called dad at his console (he'd texted me the # already) and told him what happened and that I'd be ok. I also asked him to thank whoever took the call and tell them I'd be ok, just sore.
While I don't know what it's like to field calls or be a dispatcher, I do have a great appreciation for the job and how it works. My department doesn't require or even recommend that we sit in at radio. I chose to. At least 5 times now.
I understand what it's like to never know what happens next. On our old CAD system, I would sometimes look up what calltaker handled the call and send them a message with what I could relay. I always got a thanks in return. I can't do this as easily with the new system, it loses many messages, or won't stay connected. At least I try to bring some type of closure to the person who had first contact.
I know we all get grumpy with radio, and sometimes radio gets grumpy with us...Many times, it's neither one's fault (crappy area for the portables or similar). I just felt like saying thanks for what you do.
You may know where you are...God may know where you are...But if your dispatcher doesn't know where you are when you scream for help...You and God had better be on good terms. 10-0
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