Know These 8 Things About Your Local 911 Dispatcher

8 Things To Know About The 911 Dispatcher In Your Life

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

59932
views

For the first 18 years of my life, all I knew about 911 dispatchers was that they were the voice that came after the tone, from inside the pager on my dad's hip. The voice telling him where to go and for what. I had no idea after I turned 19 that I would soon become one of those voices. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week this year is the week of April 14th-20th. I felt it appropriate to write my article this week focused on that, considering it is such a huge part of my life. For the rest of the world, it is just another week. For us, this is the one week out of the whole year that the focus is on the dispatcher, the one week where we don't feel so self-absorbed about saying what we do is nothing short of heroic. Here are some important things to know about the 911 dispatcher in your life.

1. We worry about you constantly

My biggest fear in this job is picking up the phone and hearing my loved one on the other end. No matter what the circumstance. The map zooms to the area of the county where my family and I reside, and my heart always sinks. I get a giant pit in my stomach because the very real reality is it may be someone I know and love. Don't be annoyed when we call you twice in one day or overly remind you to be safe. We are just always worried about our loved ones.

2. Our attention spans can be short

We are trained to get the pertinent information and details all within a matter of seconds. I can't speak for everyone on this, but I struggle a lot with paying attention when someone is talking to me, please forgive me if it feels as though I've stopped listening after a few minutes. I probably have. I've noticed that I listen very intently to the first couple minutes of a conversation and then my mind trails off. Nothing personal, just habit.

3. We have great hearing and multitasking skills

Most of us anyways. We can hear the person on the phone, the officer on one radio channel and the firefighter on the other, all at once. I have found that this skill comes in handy when trying to eavesdrop, also not as handy when you go out to dinner and can hear all five conversations going on around you. I have yet to master shutting that off when I am not at work.

4. We are hilarious

It could be a combination of using humor to deal with bad situations and spending twelve hours at a time in a little room together. But I think it’s that we are just freaking hilarious, nothing else to it. If you go the whole 12 hours without laughing, you're doing something wrong.

5. We have a very complicated love-hate relationship with our jobs

I love what I do, and I truly believe I was meant to put on that headset. Everything happens for a reason and my education plans out of high school didn't work out because I was supposed to be here doing this instead. I love what I do. I hate it sometimes too though. I remember specifically once taking a phone call about an hour before my shift was done. As soon as I got into my vehicle to go home, I bawled my eyes out and swore to myself that I was never stepping back into a comm center again. I hated my job with a burning passion that day. My next scheduled shift, I went back to work because I love it too. See, it doesn't even make sense it's just complicated.

6. We are tired

Believe it or not, this career can be incredibly exhausting. Someone once told me "You just sit at a desk for twelve hours, that can't be that hard." Physically that's right, we just sit there. Mentally and emotionally the first phone call of the shift can drain you and then you still have a little over 11 hours to go. I won't go into details on that but trust us when we say it was a bad call. We are tired. Some of my days off I just sleep all day not because I'm physically exhausted but because my mind needs that much time to recharge.

7. We are crazy

I really have nothing more to say other than no sane person would be a 911 dispatcher. We are all a little 10-96 in the best way possible.

8. We love harder than most

We love strangers we have never met, we love our officers that piss us off daily over the radio (we piss them off too) and we love our co-workers that drive us nuts sometimes. It takes someone incredibly strong to save a life through the phone and someone even stronger to go back after they didn't. With that strength comes a weakness of vulnerability, we know our hearts will break more often than others, and we still continue to put on that headset to help others. The people with the biggest hearts work in a dispatch center. If you are lucky enough to be loved by one don't take them for granted.

The list could go on and on. Dispatchers possess so many skills and qualities that most people will never acquire in their lifetime. People think 911 and picture the police officer, the firefighter, the paramedic often completely forgetting the 911 dispatcher. For us, that's okay because other than this one week out of the year, we don't expect praise or thank you. When it comes down to it, we love what we do and we would do it no matter what.

Popular Right Now

To Everyone Who's Scared Of Growing Up

Don't be.
1549
views

I could start this off with a quote by Peter Pan, but since I've never seen the movie I'll probably screw that up. So instead I'll start it like this.

I have a friend who is scared. He is scared of the real world and of what it means to start living in it. To deal with this fear, he has made a choice, and that choice is to grow up. I know a lot of people can relate to him since there are a lot of cliche posts on social media about how teenagers are expected to grow up too fast, so I thought I could offer some encouragement (because I'm such a caring and thoughtful person).

For my friend, growing up means acting more mature, not doing crazy things for the sake of doing them, not being as open as he used to be. While those could all be great things for safety and adulting purposes, they're not so great for friendships based around doing crazy stuff.

So to my 19-year-old friend who is now acting like he's 45, stop.

You don't have to grow up so fast.

You can still take risks, and you should while you can.

I'm sick of seeing you frown all the time.

Growing up isn't worth it, at least not yet.

Think about it this way: you only have a limited amount of time in which you are completely free. You have plenty of time during the rest of your life to go to bed before ten, grumble about your back pain, and plan out the rest of your life. Heck, that's what your 30s are for.

Right now, you should be focused on following your dreams because that is what youth should be about.

So keep focusing on the good things that have happened to you and the good people in your life. It shouldn't be hard since it's what you did last year and the years before.

Smile again, and stop worrying. Chances are, you're going to be alive for quite a while, and chances are you'll always have help if you need it to get back on your feet. Don't worry about what the future holds for you. Trust your future self and your future friends and future family and future robot minions.

The universe will provide for you, so just chill, and don't forget to have a good time whilst chilling. Don't ever feel like you're alone because we're all here for you now and not even something really stupid is going to screw up our friendship later.

Keep being rad.

Love you, bro.

Cover Image Credit: goldenage.wordpress.com

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Advice For High Schoolers By A High Schooler

Everyone takes different paths throughout high school, just make sure you're taking a good one.

4313
views

The years of high school are the four years that everybody remembers about themselves. The memories that go along with it may be good may be bad. If you are reading this and you're about to go into high school or currently in high school, these are five basic things but you need to know before going in.

Do what makes you happy. 

I know that sounds cheesy but it's true. High School is your chance to find out what interests you and what doesn't. If you find out that you like something or you're interested in something then stick with it. As long as you're doing things in high school that you enjoy, and they don't harm you or anyone else around you, the four years you're there will be great.

Don't care about other people's opinion

I know it's hard not to be consumed with what other people think about you. Everybody wants to be popular. Everybody wants to be liked. If you are genuinely a good person and people don't like you, don't worry about it.

Throughout high school, you will learn there'll be people that love you for the same exact reasons there are people that hate you and you have to be able to learn to accept that. You can't please everybody and you cannot make everybody happy.

 Make good grades and make an effort

Good grades should be something that everybody wants to achieve. With that being said, a lot of people just don't want to put in the work to achieve good grades. Coming from somebody with a 3.87 GPA and a member of my high school's NHS, I honestly wish there were more people that cared about their academics.

Having good academics teaches you how to balance school work and outside school activities. Yes, I have also had a job since I was 16. I know how to balance my school work, sports, and my job and still be able to be involved as I am. When you're able to balance everything, it makes you proud of yourself and prepares you for college/ future work.

 Don't be the person that has a new significant other every week

In high school, the term "slut" is thrown around very loosely. I can think of ten girls off the top of my head that got called this on a daily basis just because of the boyfriends they had and how many they had in the span of a month.

This doesn't apply to just girls either. Fellas, if you go out and mess with girls all the time, eventually they'll get the message that you only want to play a game. When a girl finds out that her crush is nothing but a player, she will lose interest in him. People will not take you seriously.

If you don't take my second part advice, gossip and rumors also like to spread around the school so just be careful of who your friends with and who you're associated with.

 There will be times were you feel like you failed and you're at rock bottom, but you’ll get over it. 

No matter if you spend weeks studying for a test only to get a 50% or you got your first heartbreak, there will be multiple times where you feel like you're at your low point. If you're anything like me, you will blame yourself and get more stressed about it than anything. However, you can't do that.

You have to move past things, no matter how hard you think it is, it will be okay. Everybody in high school has the same end goal: to graduate. As soon as you feel like you're at rock bottom, you just have to remember your goals and what you're going to do to push forward.

Related Content

Facebook Comments