What Was Your Worst Call?

by an Anonymous Dispatcher

At one time or another, anyone who has worked in Emergency Services for more than a few months will get asked, what was your worst call?  This is a question we hate after being asked the first time.  How do you quantify and qualify “the worst?” Does “the worst” have specific requirements for people asking the question? My “worst” and your “worst” could have two totally different definitions. Should it be based on number of people injured or killed ? How about extent of injuries? Or what about what could possibly motivate people to do some of the heinous things they do?

Time and time again dispatchers get dismissed because they don’t respond to the scene and see the wreckage of the calls they handle. They are being told that what we hear “isn’t that bad”…we should be able to handle any and everything without it impacting us.  I would love to find a human being that can listen to what we hear and not be impacted. A mother discovering their baby dead due to no fault of her own. Hearing the sound a parent makes when the one thing they love more than themselves is gone and there is nothing they can do. Continue reading “What Was Your Worst Call?”

The Lights in Shadow Land

by Careen Condrotte

Once upon a time, the stories will tell
About a place here on Earth, between heaven and hell.
Where one need not sleep, to have the bad dreams
Because the flashbacks seem real, the smells and the screams.

For despite valiant efforts, sometimes they lose.
For some there are answers, but not many clues.
The cards stacked against them, the odds not very good
No… they didn’t give up, but did all that they could.

Everyone somber, a tear here and there.
Others are angry, some had The Thousand Yard stare.
“Welcome to Shadow Land”, a voice whispered softly.
“It’s a dark place to be, and the shadows are costly.” Continue reading “The Lights in Shadow Land”

Just a Dispatcher

by An Anonymous Dispatcher

You’re just a dispatcher. You know nothing, and you see nothing, so it can’t bother you.

Really? Dispatchers don’t see anything. They should all be fine.

These are just some of the things many dispatchers are told during their careers. On the surface, these comments may sound reasonable, logical, and correct. After all, they spend eight to twelve hours a day answering phones and responding to the radio, how bad could it be?

We are inside, typically in a climate-controlled environment. We can utilize a restroom when needed. We don’t get stuck on long perimeters. And we lack the face-to-face contact with the community we serve. It sounds easy…it sounds like the secretary that so many like to define us as being. Continue reading “Just a Dispatcher”

Press Release

December 3, 2015
Press Release

CONTACT
Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance
peggy@sweeneyalliance.org
sweeneyalliance.net

The Sweeney Alliance Announces New Appointments to Their Board of Directors

Kerrville, Texas – Peggy Sweeney, founder and president of the Texas-based, non-profit company, the Sweeney Alliance, is pleased to announce the appointment of two new directors to its board of directors. The new appointees are Peter Billera of Firefighter Mortgages and Reverend Bill Minson of TUDAY Ministries.

Mr. Billera began serving his community as a volunteer firefighter with the Jericho (NY) Fire Department in 1987.  In 1992, he was hired by the Palm Beach County (FL) Fire-Rescue where he served as a career FF/Paramedic until he sustained a career ending injury.  In 1996, Peter began originating home loans for firefighters, first responders, and their family members.  It subsequently evolved into what is now Firefighter Mortgages where, along with some brother firefighters, he serves members of the public safety community nationwide.

Reverend Minson formed TUDAY Ministries in 1979 to motivate, inform and inspire youth. The last decade proved to be the cornerstone of TUDAY Ministries thirty-four year Gospel ministry of service. He served as a Red Cross and Salvation Army chaplain following the 9/11 attacks, and continues to provide spiritual care, counsel and advocacy support to 9/11, Oklahoma City and Katrina families. Bill produced and directed the documentary SAVE THE BRAVE on YouTube, which helped passage in the US Congress of the Zadroga Bill to assist sick and dying 9/11 Responders and their families.

“We strive to build a very strong leadership foundation, and couldn’t be more pleased with these appointments. Both of these individuals, with diverse experiences and backgrounds, have a passionate commitment to serving the needs of first responders and their families because they understand the many personal and professional struggles that today’s emergency service and public safety professionals must deal with. I am very honored to have Peter and Reverend Bill working with me and as members of our board of directors,” said Peggy Sweeney, founder and president.

About the Sweeney Alliance
The Sweeney Alliance, established in 2002 as a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to providing training, resources and financial support for emergency responders, public safety personnel, and their families in North America. For more information about the Sweeney Alliance, please visit http://www.sweeneyalliance.net.

Reflections on Times Past with PTSD

by Bubba

Over the next few days, most, if not all of us, will start reflecting on the last year, which turns into years.  For me, this year means seeing a list of failures and loss in some areas, and gains in others. 

The negative for the year is, of course, easy to see. First, I didn’t get my medical retirement status finalized. I can’t get my disability status made permanent because they are busy fighting with Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), my former agency is contesting everything to be just more of themselves.  Recently, my service dog had to be put down and the process of finding a new one is less than easy or quick.  Continue reading “Reflections on Times Past with PTSD”

MAKE THE SCREAMS STOP

by Cindy Armstrong

Cindy armstrong_1
Cindy Armstrong

One day I went for an interview to become an EMS Dispatcher and then I was hired.
I was told that I wouldn’t make it a year, as I’d get stressed out and tired.
So excited getting the first few calls, I knew that I wanted to help people all the more.
Helping others is all I ever wanted to do, but little did I know what was in store.

With each call different from the next, they started to come in, one by one.
There were accidents, people with burns, stabbings, and a man with a gun.
There was difficulty breathing, chest pain, abdominal pain, and a fall to the floor,
The ambulances were sent and the paramedics would respond with a big “10-4”.

Continue reading “MAKE THE SCREAMS STOP”

911, What Is MY Emergency?

by Angela Beaty
911 Dispatcher
Marshall County, Iowa Communications

My journey learning about PTSD begins with my marriage. This is where the initial trauma happened. My marriage was a nightmare for the most part. I called my ex-husband the AAA asshole. Alcoholic. Addicted. Abuser. He over drank almost every night and was addicted to many things, but mostly alcohol. He abused me physically, verbally and emotionally for years. I kept it hidden. Or so I thought. Funny, but what you don’t realize is that people know. They wont ask you or talk to you about it, but they know. Continue reading “911, What Is MY Emergency?”

Heroes

by Ed Hofert

If you’re following my Heart Whisperer Ed Hofert page – I hope you are – you may have noticed an increase in poems having to do with PTSD among our heroes. Law enforcement and firemen and medics. The people we turn to for our very lives when we feel we are in danger.

Some of this increase is not because the injuries to the heart and soul from PTSD are on the rise necessarily. But my awareness of it certainly is.

Seattle Municilap Archives

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I always believed that people lean toward a job they find is a good fit for them and that was the end of the story. I didn’t know how wrong I could be. Every single one of them show up on that first day with dreams of saving others. And some of them already kind of know at what expense it will come to them to do it. While some others are completely caught off guard. Blinded by dreams of making the world a better place they don’t see it coming when a child dies in their arms. Or their partner, who they were joking with five minutes ago, is suddenly bleeding out right in front of them. Or they themselves are being shot at by someone who really wants to kill them. To end their life. Take them from their family and friends because of……. Because of why? It comes right down to none of it making any sense. But it is the world we live in today. Scary as hell. Continue reading “Heroes”