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The Most Important Ingredient Of The Emergency Network

Rickey Stokes

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Posted by: RStokes
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Date: Apr 15 2019 5:09 PM




This week is TELECOMMUNICATORS week, also known as Dispatchers.


The Wikipedia definition of a dispatcher is:


Dispatchers are communications personnel responsible for receiving and transmitting pure and reliable messages, tracking vehicles and equipment, and recording other important information. Wikipedia


The reality is, the dispatcher IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT of the emergency network. But they are the least focused on by leaders of organizations, normally.


The dispatcher IS the common denominator between the caller - the officer - the fireman - the EMS - the utilities - and it is the dispatcher that is the one who rolls what emergency services are needed for that person.


The dispatcher touches all sides of the calls and emergencies, connecting the dots to make things happen.


The calmness brought to the crisis makes the caller calmer during the call, and the responding emergency units calm, informed, prepared equipment wise and mentally to handle the emergency they are about to be presented with.


The caller does not know this, but as the person who answered the 911 phone is asking questions, another dispatcher is notifying the proper emergency services and they are being rolled to the emergency.


THE FIRST THING - THE FIRST WORDS SPOKEN WHEN YOU CALL 911

ARE TO BE...


MY LOCATION IS _________________


The most important piece of information for an emergency operator to acquire is a caller’s exact location. After all, they can’t send help if they don’t know where you are. 


YOUR EXACT LOCATION - FIRST


THE NEXT INFORMATION TO TELL THE 911 DISPATCHER  WHEN YOU CALL 911


Dispatchers want to know the what and where of your emergency




One of the hardest things about being a dispatcher is the lack of closure that comes with the job.


Once the first responders are on the scene, dispatchers have to hang up and move to the next call. They will probably never find out what happens to their callers. It is the worst part. You have this intense moment with this person, it could be the most horrible moment of their life and you’re the first one to help them, and you never find out what happens. You never get to meet them or give them a hug.


“I heard a gentleman take his last breath after being stabbed,”


A dispatcher can’t drive around her town without remembering the bad things that happened at particular addresses. “I know the geography of grief,” she says. “I know which woman hanged herself in that window and which mother found her son dead in that bedroom.”


“If you get a call that a baby isn’t breathing, the whole room of dispatchers gets really, really quiet and all the dispatchers pull for the person giving CPR instructions. I’ve had a couple that have gone badly and those are hard to let go.” Again, the dispatcher never gets to give a hug of joy the baby lived or hug the family who their child died.






For the record the figures below are not the figures paid locally:




Median pay (annual)38,010 USD (2015)





Median pay (hourly)18.27 USD (2015)





Entry level educationHigh school diploma or equivalent






Number of jobs102,000 (2014)


Every year, the U.S. 911 system receives about 240 million calls, and emergency dispatchers are the very first responders.


They translate a caller’s situation into actionable instructions so police, fire,  medical teams and utility responders can respond as quickly as possible.


It’s an incredibly demanding job, with some shifts lasting up to 16 hours. That’s a lot of time spent listening to terrified callers in their most desperate moments, and it takes a certain kind of person to survive the stress.


Hopefully you never have to dial 911...





DISPATCHERS...thank you for all you do. You are the unseen true heros.




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