Every year there is a week set aside to honor Emergency Dispatchers and the job they do. It is usually the second full week in April.
I don't talk about my job and its stresses very much. I try to spare my friends and family the details of all we go through.
Let's be real though.. it is a hard job. Sure, I sit there for 12 hours and that doesn't seem tough but that's all we get to do. Our job is to wait for the next 911 call. There is no running to the store, walking outside, working out etc. We are there in that room for 12 hours. Especially at night.
We are the first people that the caller talks to. We are their link to hope when their world is spinning out of control. They are angry at us, scared, frustrated, thankful people. We are asked constantly "why aren't they hear yet?". Every time they ask that I want to say "I wish they were already there too". We hear people beg their loved ones not to die. We hear teenagers that have been in car accidents screaming for their friends to wake up. You don't forget those voices. Sometimes we are the first to hear a new baby cry. It has only happened twice in my career but those are sweet, precious sounds that I love. We have to figure out where you are when you have absolutely no clue. Remember the 911 call that was released in the media last month where the guy shot his girlfriend (by accident) with a cannon. That was a 911 call that I took. The female voice on the line? That is me.
We listen to multiple radio channels and answer in a timely manner. All of us have side projects too. Soon I will be training to review our medical calls to make sure we remain at the national standard. We have to worry about getting every call out in 60 seconds or less and face the ramifications if we drop below that. We have to remain CPR certified and have 24 hours of medical dispatching training per year. We have mandatory ride alongs with Battalions Chiefs so we are familiar with the areas we dispatch for. We are called in in a moments notice when there is a large fire or event. We go to training exercises, work a lot of overtime behind vacations and have meetings.
All this being said... I LOVE my job. I work with 8 other incredible dispatchers. It is the most difficult and rewarding job I've ever had and I am so thankful God opened the door for me to do this job. In honor of Dispatcher Week, I made everyone in the office a mini loaf. Some Banana nut and some Orange Cranberry. They loved it.