For Dispatchers, First Responder Is More Than Just A Title

For Dispatchers, First Responder Is More Than Just A Title

It is training, education, and mental health.


There has been a lot of talk with Congresswoman Torres out of California putting forth a bill that changes the classification of 9-1-1 dispatchers from clerical staff to first responders.

There are those who see it and say, why change it? It's not like they actually respond to the scene, therefore they cannot be first responders.

I can see the argument there, my husband is law enforcement and he is a first responder. He arrives on the scene of accidents and other things I don't want to see. Before he gets there, in most cases, a dispatcher has already talked to someone on the scene and has a full description of the problem. I have great respect for the responders on the road, but trying to get information on a distraught screaming person on the phone takes more talent than doing so in person.

Aside from what dispatchers deal with on a daily basis, the other thing is training. There is no nationwide or even statewide standard for dispatchers. Each agency is left to its own training since they are not recognized as anything other than clerical staff. It means that the 9-1-1 dispatcher that answers your emergency call may have anywhere from 1 day of training to 6 months of training. They may not have dealt with a suicidal caller until the first day out of training.

Education is important for dispatchers and sadly lacking. The reason why education and training are not done is because of funding. As a clerical staff, dispatchers do not fall under first responders and are not eligible for a number of grants and resources that are available to law enforcement.

The #Iam911 movement has been doing its best to get the word out about dispatchers and what it is they do. The Within The Trenches Facebook page has a plethora of stories that will break your heart if you are not prepared for them. These are just single events that dispatchers have had to deal with. When they hang up that call they start right back into another one.

The most important thing to realize is that dispatchers are not out to get first responder status for the discounts. It's not all about the name, even though recognition and appreciation would be nice. It the behind the scene benefits that matter the most. It is about having a standard across the nation and state for 9-1-1 operators and radio dispatchers. A secretary could do my job, with 6 months of training. That training is not required by anything other than the agencies preference in some states.

There are benefits of being labeled a first responder, this label helps them in areas that most people try not to think about. Stress management and PTSD are issues in a dispatch center. Dispatchers face high levels of emotional distress with the calls they take. A study showed that peritraumatic distress was high in dispatchers and showed up in an average of 32% of potentially traumatic calls.

Dispatchers are in dire need of resources that will get them training, stress management, and equipment that is needed. As a dispatcher, I want to talk to someone who knows what they are doing, who is trained and has the resources they need to carry out the job. First Responder status improves on what agencies are already doing.

If you have ever called 9-1-1 or ever intend to call 9-1-1, this should be at the forefront of your mind. When it comes to an emergency, it's not the time to say I wish I could have. Be prepared, help dispatchers prepare for when the emergency is yours.

The time is now to make a difference.

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To The College Student Graduating Without A Job Offer, Rejection Is Part Of The Process

Keep your head up. Stay optimistic. Everything happens for a reason.


To the Graduating College Student Who Doesn't Have a Post-Grad Job Yet,

I know exactly how you're feeling right now. All your friends are securing their first post-graduation job and you have nothing yet. If you're like me, you probably feel a little bit worthless and unwanted. You keep applying to jobs, re-touching up your resume and Curriculum Vitae, and writing cover letter after cover letter in the hopes that someone, anyone will take you and your talents.

(And you ARE talented... you're graduating with a degree. Don't forget that.)

It's something that you can't avoid either. Almost every day, there's a new post on Facebook that's starting with, "I'm so excited to announce that I got hired at *insert boujee company here.*" You want to be excited for your friends and you are genuinely happy for them but to be honest, it's frustrating and hard when you are sitting there empty-handed. Just this morning, I got another "thanks but no thanks" notification from one of the 32+ jobs that I applied for. Rejection is part of the process and I guarantee that both you and I will be rejected many more times.

You just have to keep reminding yourself that you WILL get a job. Things like this doesn't just happen overnight. Also, you are not alone in this...there are a million other graduating college seniors that are still jobless. I have friends who graduated last year and they still are struggling to find work that fits their major. So, while it may seem like you're the only one who's going through this annoyingly stressful process, you AREN'T.

Keep applying for jobs. Keep your head up. Stay optimistic. Everything happens for a reason. There will be an employer who will see all your potential and will hire you. Keep working for your goals and you reap the benefits one day. Remember that people like Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates all started at the bottom. It was because they stayed focused and dedicated to themselves and their goals that they were able to reach their success.

Sure, you may have to start out by waiting tables or work in a job that isn't ideal but it's a small stepping stone to your future success. It's going to be an uphill climb but you will be alright. Everyone usually always ends up fine, in the end, no matter how down in the dumps they are on the journey. Just never give up. It sounds cliche but it's so true...if you give up then you will never find the success you wanted and you will never be truly happy. You have only one life so you have to make it a good one. That means you have to balance your passions in with a job that will keep you wanting to continue in your field of work and to keep doing better.

You WILL succeed.

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Just For Clarification, It Is Possible To Be BOTH A Christian Woman And A Feminist

A clarification of God's intention for men, women, and their value.


I read an article recently about a young Christian woman who said that she didn't believe that God intended women to be equals. Here was the Title, "I'm A Christian Girl, And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals."

I read the article, mostly because the title was a little unsettling, and understood where she was coming from. It held a great intention and standing in Scripture coupled with a passionate affection for Jesus, which I adore. However, the language and word choice could be used to reinforce the notion that Christians and God view women as lesser than men.

And so, I wanted to clarify a few things to ensure clarity. The idea that God views women as less valuable than men is truly and wholeheartedly not true. There is so much significance, value, intention, meaning, and need for women. And men, equally are as vital, so valuable, full of meaning, and so uniformly needed. And to put both of them on a scale to weigh out our equality in significance and value almost feels... completely unnecessary and out of place. Both men and women hold an equal degree of worth as persons, as they have both been made in God's image and are heirs together of eternal life.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1: 27
There is neither Jew nor Greek, thee is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:38

We cannot reproduce one without the other. We depend on each other for the very carrying on of our beings. And we depend on each other in a lot of other contexts too.

I'd like to open this up to a little bit more of a dialogue because I think there's some disconnect between how feminism and equality are understood and defined as in today's context. So just to be clear on exactly what we're talking about, here are some definitions from of the key terms that this topic revolves around:

The definition of equal: being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.

The definition of equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.

The definition of feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

The definition of a feminist: A person who supports feminism.

Just a quick disclaimer, people have adopted various definitions of these terms in today's culture. For my purposes, I will be referring to the definitions listed above.

So, essentially a feminist is someone who supports the state of equality in status, rights, and opportunities relative to men. Under that definition I, a Christian woman, would define myself as a feminist. In a general view, I support and encourage the state of being provided the same opportunities, rights, and status as a woman, and essentially as a human being.

With that being said, however, I also believe that men and women are different, and have been given roles within the family setting to fit those differences. Here is one passage that describes a woman's particular role in a marriage.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Ephesians 5: 22-24

I think the word submit immediately scares us as women. It scares me a bit, to be 100% honest. But after being married and realizing that leadership is so important, and us working as a team together is hugely vital to our marriage, the roots of this message are being realized and understood further in my own life and as a wife.

The type of submission described here is not the obedience children owe to their parents. Nor is it stating that all women should submit to all men. This submission is in a specific marital context for the work of a harmonious and healthy marriage. It goes on to command the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. The husband is to be a leader that loves, cherishes, listens to, and protects his wife. We have both been given a responsibility and a role to ensure that our marriage is working toward one common goal. That we are on the same page because ultimately we are on the same team.

So although men have been granted a role of leadership within a marriage, this should in no means imply that we are not equal to them. Equal in quantity, quality, degree, or value. There are millions of angles and coatings to this subject, so please forgive me for the gaps that I haven't addressed in this small fragment of writing.

I feel like there are millions of layers to how God sees us as people, too. He has created us, putting pieces of Himself of infinite worth and value into our the heart of hearts knitted in each of us, both male and female.

I hope you know that we are valuable.

You are valuable.

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