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New Book: 9-1-1 What Is Your Emergency?

Date: 2014-11-30
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9-1-1 What Is Your Emergency?
By Lucia, Retired Dispatcher #160
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
244 Pages, multiple formats/price.

The author worked at the San Diego Police Communications Division for more than 25 years and has compiled into this volume the funny, the sad, and the ugly she encountered during that quarter century.  Print-on-demand specialist AuthorHouse provides the book in paperback, hardback, and e-book versions; although its impressive 244-page length is slightly misleading as the book’s typeface is very large.  At the same time, that makes the book very readable a chapter, or a paragraph, at a time; it’s a good book to pick up between 9-1-1 calls and not have lost your place after you’re done.

The book is primarily a compilation of short stories told in snippets of dialog between caller and dispatcher, largely directed to those not in the business.  It’s not a thorough set of 9-1-1 dispatcher memoirs, which makes it ideal for on-the-go perusal, albeit mostly light reading and light hearted amusement.  But it does mean that if you’re looking for a reasoned, biographical look at a dispatcher’s career, this isn’t that book.  The author’s intention is rather to share brief glimpses into the kind of strange and unusual calls stand out from bedrock of the routine and the intensely critical that provides the foundation for the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s workday. Lucia provides insight into the life of a 9-1-1 dispatcher not through a painstaking narrative rendering of heart and soul, but rather through an entertaining glimpse into the human challenges on the opposite end of the telephone that make the dispatcher’s job as diversified as any in public service. The first chapter, which in three pages takes you through a sampling of seven very different calls handled during the first hour of a dispatcher’s shift, does exhibit a very concise example of the uniquely varied set of challenging tasks the 9-1-1 dispatcher is called to handle, often before the coffee is ready.

Lucia’s experiences are funny, bizarre, and sometimes sad – and thus an accurate assemblage of the kinds of calls 9-1-1 dispatchers take during a wild and crazy shift – or throughout a career.  File under humor and you’ll find much to amuse and ponder (and, if you’re in the business, much to recognize and sympathize with as well).  And, since every one of these calls came from the author’s direct experience, there’s a large kernel of truth that permeates all of these pages, so that after you’re done grinning you just may regard the dispatcher with a little more respect and appreciation. 

For more news & reviews of book relevant to public safety and 9-1-1 dispatching, see our BOOKS page.

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via Bohlsen Group)

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