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The art of listening by the dispatcher demands a high level of hearing. To do less would be an injustice to the dispatcher, the employer and the citizen who might only get one chance in a lifetime to call 9-1-1 for help! After many years in this field, I feel that the time has come to bring this deficiency to the forefront.
Friends of 9-1-1 have announced that the second annual Run for 9-1-1 charity 5K will take place in Denver, Colorado on the morning of Sunday, June 28.
Motivation and overall morale in the dispatch center are difficult to maintain and with the encroaching holidays, one thing is for certain, 9-1-1 dispatchers are called to be at the top of their game. Holidays can be a very busy time for 9-1-1; burnout, sickness and just genuine lack of motivation can be huge problems causing 9-1-1 centers everywhere to struggle. What can you do to help motivate and maybe inspire your dispatchers this holiday season?
...I moved on with my life, and took my children with me to safety. Became ferociously independent. Felt wonderful. New life, new home, new job. My new job was as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. I knew that the job would be stressful, but I was an old pro at stress. Or so I thought. I had no idea the extent of stress that was heading my way...
Among the unsung heroes in the public safety response to and recovery from Hurricane Sandy are the emergency dispatchers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, answering the thousands of 9-1-1 calls and coordinating the response to innumerable emergencies including huge fires in NYC and a myriad of emergencies in cities and towns large and small throughout the affected region. Many of these dispatchers lost their own homes in the devastation of the hurricane.
Anger affects our bodies, our minds and our behavior. In can be like a toxin that can either help us or hurt us. Think of it like chemotherapy. If you have something bad happening to you and you have to deal with it, sometimes you need a stronger does of "something" to fight it. In the case of anger, you are reacting to something that has gotten out of control, or your old methods of dealing are no longer working so anger came to the rescue...
Colonial Williamsburg salutes first responders and their families with a very special offer: pay for a day and come back all year. From March 16 through June 10, any member of law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMS technicians, 9-1-1 dispatchers, emergency management employees, as well as active duty military, guard and reserve personnel and their families can purchase a single day ticket at $39.95 for an adult and $20.95 for youth ages six to 12 and visit the rest of the year through Dec. 31...
After twelve years as a 9-1-1 dispatcher in Arizona, Jean Kester retired, moved to Washington state, and eventually founded an organization called Layers of Hope - Quilting 911, a support organization for 9-1-1 agencies and their communities who have undergone disasters or stressful, traumatic incidents. "I got the idea in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast," Jean told 9-1-1 Magazine. "I wanted to go down and help but it just wasn't possible. My husband suggested I use my...
In the wake of the deadliest law enforcement encounter since 9/11, how will what happened in Dallas change how we do business in the 9-1-1 Communications Center?
A Missouri 911 dispatcher has devised a new way to alert people to diabetic drivers. Tanya Moder designed decals that say Diabetic on Board. The decals will alert emergency responders that a diabetic person could be in distress. It would also help responders distinguish between an intoxicated driver and symptoms of diabetes in a situation where the driver may be found unconscious.
When these statistics started coming in for PTSD and how many firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers are affected by that, even to the point of committing suicide, I thought about how I could express some of the stressful things that I see through my artwork. I recognized some of the signs of PTSD in myself, and I've found it useful for me to process what I’ve seen by recreating the calls through artwork.
Attention, Dispatchers: Your first emergency is in your chair! Long periods of sitting can take years off your life, but a few easy stretches can add them right back
"Accepting the Inevitable" addresses the reality of how shift work and the 24/7 world of the dispatch center effects the emotional, physical, and performance of the telecommunicator. It peels away the glossy surface of dispatching to expose the dirty details that every 9-1-1 professional has to confront from their first day on the job until the day they retire.
Any high-stress sedentary job has the tendency to put on the pounds if the individual engaged in it isn't careful. Because of the many strenuous demands, dispatching can erode the physical well-being of a person quicker than hard liquor and illicit drugs combined. We all know that and, to a degree, we accept it. The question is, what do we do about it?
The Salem County Dept. of Emergency Services dispatch facility, located in Mannington Township, New Jersey, was struck by three successive lightning strikes Thursday, according to a report at NJ.com. Five dispatchers suffered from electrical shocks as a result.
What follows here are guidelines and examples we've culled from a number of agencies which we hope may help you develop a pre-plan for composing a suitable Last Call broadcast for your department or dispatch center, in the hopes that you will never have to use it. As we've found with most critical event SOPs, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Thus, having a plan for when and how to make a Last Call broadcast with guidelines as to verbiage, will serve...
In the law enforcement community, there are many situations police officers face that can heighten stress levels such as high-risk calls, working long shifts, bureaucratic pressure, department mismanagement, and personal life drama. Another important issue that goes unnoticed is the intense level of stress that public safety dispatchers face on a daily basis.
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. 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
A new study by researchers at Northern Illinois University suggests that the on-the-job, indirect exposure to trauma puts dispatchers at risk for developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "We found that dispatchers report significant emotional distress related to handling duty-related calls, and this type of distress is associated with increased risk for developing PTSD or PTSD symptoms," said NIU Psychology Professor Michelle Lilly, one of the authors of the study...
The Northern Illinois University is studying the incidence of voice problems in those who work as 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators. To facilitate their study, van Mersbergen has created an online in order to determine the prevalence of voice disorders in the profession of 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicators.
"Why does the dispatcher need help getting through this officer down incident, he wasn't even on the scene?" These were the words a high ranking official asked me, the 9-1-1 Director in charge of a center where an officer was shot, when my dispatcher was having extreme anxiety over the incident. I wish I knew then what I know now...
Recently, Facebook, the world's largest social media outlet, launched a new suicide prevention feature which will allow users to report suicidal or worrisome posts with the click of a button. When a user sees a post that suggests that the individual who wrote the post may be suicidal, he or she can flag the post to be reviewed by a Facebook administrator, who will then contact the individual directly if he or she determines there is reason for concern.
Stress is a very sensitive and very real subject for many 9-1-1 dispatchers. Coping with stress can happen on many different levels and we all deal with it a different way. When stress affects our personal health learning how to cope with it in a productive way can make all the difference.
I am an Emergency Dispatcher and I must do something which is very difficult for me to do. I am admitting that I have PTSD, depression and anxiety. I know that there are many others in the Emergency Dispatch community who are quietly struggling as well. Although we do not see the scenes that we send our officers, firefighters and medics to, we are not immune to the trauma. I would like to share some of what I have learned through my own experience, in walking through this darkness.
There is not just ONE problem that is easy to solve in the 9-1-1 industry. There are many areas in need of repair, here are some thoughts: It is NO mystery that the pay is at times inadequate. Inadequate to attract good candidates, inadequate to keep good employees, inadequate to enable workers to feel valued or heard. They (whoever they are) claim pay isn't what matters, just like other human services jobs such as counseling, caring for the mentally ill. True maybe - the pay IN ITSELF...
Given that we can’t escape the harsh reality of man’s inhumanity to man, we really do owe it to ourselves to learn to effectively mitigate the affect these unpleasantries have on ourselves...
Recently, the question "What does your dispatch center do to boost morale?" was raised in an online forum. Although a few respondents had positive examples, the majority were overwhelmingly negative...
Burn out and empathy fatigue happen in similar circumstances but have different symptoms. A burn out is a condition in which the person worked so hard at near-peak production or efficiency that they lose touch with themselves... Empathy fatigue occurs when a person consistently feels the pain and suffering of another. Boundaries between two or more individuals become blurred and the person has great trouble distinguishing between their emotions and that of another.
Retired US Army soldier Ron Leonard and his therapy dog Molly will be traveling about the state of Tennessee honoring 9-1-1's "Hidden Heroes" during National Telecommunicators Week, April 9-15th.
There are many habits and practices you can do on a regular basis to keep you very healthy and happy. Some of these tips are specific to the workplace, some are general lifestyle suggestions that I've found to be valuable in achieving an overall sense of stress-less well being.
Serve & Protect restores heroes and rescues families in criminal justice and emergency services, including those in Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue/EMT, Dispatch, and Corrections. We believe that both physical health and mental health are core elements to serving those who sacrifice for us daily.